Walt Disney bans junk food ads
06 June 2012
Walt Disney is banning junk food ads across its portfolio of TV, radio and online programmes, in a bid to set new nutrition standards and help fight child obesity in the US.
The new initiative, which Disney has branded ‘the Magic of Healthy Living’ will see the introduction of a new set of nutrition guidelines, modelled on federal health standards, which all food and drink advertisers will have to adhere to.
The standards dictate that Disney will no longer go to advertisers who promote sugary foods, including cereals with 10 grams or more of sugar per serving or complete meals with more than 600 calories. Sugary drinks and products that are high in sodium will also be off the air.
The initiative will not come into effect until 2015 and will depend on how Disney defines junk food.
“We’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” says Disney chairman and chief executive Robert Iger.
Recent studies have shown that almost a third of children in the US are overweight or obese, yet junk food and sugary drinks advertisers spend approximately $1bn per year on ads aimed at kids under the age of 12.
The initiative has been backed by US First Lady Michelle Obama, an active anti-childhood obesity campaigner, who described it as a “game changer”.
“Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn’t see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favourite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn’t have believed you,” says Obama.
Keep an eye out for M&M Global’s Special Kids Report in the Q2 issue of M&M Global, which hits desks later this month.
Jenni Baker, London