A Fanta television advertisement and mobile phone app
have been pulled after the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) found they broke
the rules by directly marketing an unhealthy drink to children.
The decision comes after the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) lodged an official complaint about the Fanta TV ad and app in May.
As a signatory to the Responsible Children's Marketing
Initiative (RCMI), Fanta's manufacturer Coca-Cola has committed not to
advertise its products to children under 12 years unless those products
represent healthier choices.
OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin was pleased with the
"Fanta is packed with sugar, one 450 ml bottle has around
14 teaspoons of sugar, making it an extremely unhealthy option which should not
be promoted to children," Ms Martin says.
"Yet in a blatant attempt to appeal to kids, the Fanta
TV ad and app feature young and playful cartoon characters called the ‘Fanta
Crew' who talk about and drink Fanta. They use child-like imagery such as a
rollercoaster, other theme park rides and a playground, as well as wording such
as ‘bubble explosion' and ‘it's always full of fun' to engage children.
"At a time when 25% of Australian children are
overweight or obese, it is extremely unethical for Coca-Cola to aggressively
promote their high sugar products to children in this manner, in breach of
their own undertakings.
"We are very pleased to see that our complaints to the
ASB have been upheld and that Coca-Cola has removed the ad from television and the
app from the iTunes store, although the app is still available from Google
The OPC also lodged a complaint against the Fanta
website, but it was dismissed by the ASB largely because it lacked interactive
elements or games.
"The Fanta website is part of the same marketing
campaign, it uses the same child-focused imagery and messaging and promotes the
same unhealthy product as the TV ad and app, yet in a seemingly inconsistent
move the ASB does not believe the website breaches the RCMI," Ms Martin said.
"This highlights just some of the issues associated
with the self-regulation of advertising and marketing by the food and beverage
industry. There is no independent governing body to enforce the code and other
regulations and no meaningful sanctions for breaches, leaving the health of
Australian children in the hands of Big Food.
"The OPC is calling on Coca-Cola to do the right thing
and pull down the Fanta website and ensure that the Android version of the app
is also removed from the Google Play store to ensure it is no longer available
via any medium in Australia."
About the ASB Fanta decisions
Fanta Fruit Slam 2 app: The ASB found that the interactive game on the app was
directed primarily to children aged 9-12 years given it featured cartoon style
characters having fun and doing things children in this age group would aspire
to do as they approach their teenager years, such as going to the beach with
friends, and for reason of its colourful nature and simplicity.
Fanta ‘Tastes Like' TV ad: The ASB found the ad to be directed primarily to
children given the images used (particularly of animated characters riding on a
roller coaster and then jumping into a pool filled with bubbles, and at the
park with friends) which would be of primary appeal to younger children who
aspire to be teenagers, as well as the simplistic and child-like style language
website www.fanta.com.au: The ASB dismissed
the website complaint largely on the basis that the absence of any interactive
element or games (and featuring of downloads and nutrition information) would
limit the appeal of the website overall to children under 12. It found that "the
overall theme of the website was one of colour and including 'cool' looking
characters that would have some appeal to children but was not directed
primarily to children". It referred to its determination on the TV ad and app
but distinguished the website on the basis that the characters are introduced
with descriptive text and stationary images which may appeal to children but
are not directed to children. It also considered the language used to be more complex and therefore not aimed