The new coalition government has stated that one of its priorities is the protection of children from excessive commercialisation. This policy aim reflects a general perception in the UK among the governing and chattering classes that advertising is at the root of both this problem and the problem of obesity among children. Eyes are therefore turned to the advertising industry to see what they have done and what they are doing to protect children.

It is helpful therefore that Ofcom have recently released a review showing that since the rules concerning the advertising of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) came into force in 2007, advertising for HFSS products seen by children had dropped by 37%, and the fall was greater for younger children (a 55% decline).

There are already a number of rules and safeguards in place to protect children, and these are probably set to increase if the proposed extension of the CAP Code into all promotional messages on the internet goes ahead. Our new Ad Guide on advertising to children goes into greater detail on all these areas.