Unilever announces shift in marketing for children’s food and drink

Unilever is changing the way it markets food and drink products to children.

The move comes as part of the growing concern over child obesity – which has been named by the World Health Organisation as one of the most serious public health issues of the 21st century – and Unilever aims to help parents, caregivers and children make more informed choices about the food and drinks they purchase. Unilever also wishes to address the rise of social media.

Unilever has declared three main changes:

  • By the end of 2020, Unilever will stop marketing and advertising foods and beverages to children under the age of 12 in traditional media and below 13 via social media channels.
  • Unilever will not use any influencers, celebrities or social media stars who primarily appeal to children under the age of 12 in their adverts.
  • Unilever will limit its use of cartoon characters. They will only be used for products with a specific nutritional profile.

The ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ promise

Unilever’s ice cream business will be leading the implementation of its new approach, as Wall’s becomes the first global ice cream brand with a ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ promise.

The promise is designed to assist parents and caregivers when considering products for their children and is based on the following three pillars:

  • Wall’s kids’ ice creams will be Responsibly Communicated, tying in with Unilever’s shift in advertising tone, to speak to the parents rather than the children. Wall’s will also not direct any marketing communications to children under the age of 12, nor to children under the age of 13 on social media.
  • Wall’s kids’ ice creams will be Responsibly Sold. The ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ logo will be introduced on point-of-sale communications such as product packs and price cards. This will clearly indicate to parents and caregivers which products are designed for children.
  • The ice creams in Wall’s global kids’ portfolio are Responsibly Developed. By the end of 2020, every ice cream in the kids’ range will have no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion. Unilever will work to further improve this.

“We at Wall’s believe that everyone deserves a little joyous treat from time to time and we strive to offer something for everyone. Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly. It is the promise of better ice cream and healthier, happier children. Both now and in the future,” said Matt Close, executive vice president, Global Ice Cream Category.

The deadline for compliance with these new principles is the end of 2020.

Image credit: Unilever

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