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Ad Standards rules Hungry Jack’s ad targeted children

Hungry Jack’s has removed a transport advertisement from circulation after Ad Standards ruled that the creative violated the AANA Food and Beverages Code section 3.1: “Must not target children”.

The ad, which featured a young woman with colourful hair and makeup holding a bright pink beverage from the fast food outlet’s new Jelly Belly ‘Bursties’ range, came under fire for its placement on a school bus.

A complaint lodged with Ad Standards by a concerned member of the community said:

This advertisement is targeting children with a unhealthy sugar sweetened beverage. The beverage itself takes up 1/4 of the advertisement promoting excess consumption. One serve of the raspberry bursties slushie is over 10 teaspoons of sugar!! The imagery (excited young female with coloured hair wearing a t-shirt that is designed for youth) and the bright colours would predominately appeal to children. Lastly being placed on a bus that is FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN can not be overlooked. This ad is primarily targeted at children and breaches the code.

In response to the complaint, Hungry Jack’s argued that the bus side advertisement was not booked on a bus dedicated to the transport of children as it “does not target any media or communication at people below the age of 16”.

In addition, the advertiser said that the campaign featured 18 year old actors and was aimed at the 18 to 25 demographic.

Hungry Jack’s OOH media partners, JCDecaux and MOOVE affirmed that they did not specifically allocate the ads to known school buses.

The Ad Standard’s Community Panel considered that  considered that frozen product advertised is “colourful, sweet and would be of significant appeal to children”, noting that “while Jelly Belly lollies would have some nostalgic appeal for adults, they are a product that is of significant appeal to children”, and thus would be more so appealing to children under 15 more than older teenagers or adults.

Other factors considered included the cartoon-like visuals used in the creative and the expected audience of the advertisement, which would likely be more than 25% children give the ad’s placement on a bus that runs the school route.

Considering these points, the Panel found that the criteria met was sufficient to determine the advertisement as being targeted to children, and upheld the complaint.

Responding to the decision, Hungry Jack’s confirmed that it had taken steps to remove the advertisement from Bus Sides, but strongly disagreed with the decision. The advertiser added that it intended to pursue an independent review of the Panel’s determination.

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