Why should marketing and advertising to Children be more nuanced? 

Advertising is the vehicle through which consumers become informed of goods and services that are of interest to them, so is central to economic growth.  An overarching principle of the ICC Code is that marketing communications must be legal, decent, honest and truthful, considering how the communication is likely to be interpreted by the primary target audience. 

Children today are media savvy, enjoying wide access to technology, diverse marketing and advertising platforms, as well as entertainment and modern culture.  While there are many benefits to this early exposure, their inexperience to critically reflect on received information make children more vulnerable to harmful, potentially deceptive and offensive information. 

ICC recognizes that children and teens are distinct groups and advertisers should be especially diligent in protecting these young consumers and marketing communications need to be responsible and sensitive to children’s needs and levels of understanding.  ICC considers “children” to be 12 and younger, while “teens” or “young people” are individuals 13 – 18 (age 18 is generally considered the age of majority in many jurisdictions).  

The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice provides guidelines with respect to marketing communication addressed to children to ensure responsible marketing communications, in addition to other relevant guidance. The rules take into consideration the inexperience and credulity of children as well as the social and cultural values of society. 

One particular point of concern is childhood obesity. In the US, for example, children are especially vulnerable to food marketing which leads to problems such as child obesity and unhealthy eating habits, an alarmingly growing challenge among this segment of the population.  To address these issues and help advertisers and marketers to comply with the principles of responsible marketing communication, ICC has developed the Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications, setting out the principles for regulation of responsible food and beverage marketing communication related to children. 

ICC encourages marketers and advertisers to follow these principles and meet their obligation towards responsible, honest and decent marketing communication to children. 


By admin