The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has announced they have joined forces with the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), in providing a complaints mechanism for the EU Pledge, a voluntary initiative by leading food and beverage companies to change the way they advertise to children.
Endorsed and supported by the World Federation of Advertisers, the EU Pledge is a response from industry leaders to calls made by the EU institutions for the food industry to use commercial communications to support parents in making the right diet and lifestyle choices for their children, particularly those under the age of 12.
According to Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI: “As members of the European Advertising Standards Alliance, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications. The EU Pledge requires an accountability mechanism and the ASAI looks forward to taking part in this process.”
The initiative consists of two main commitments: no advertising for food and beverage products to children under the age of 12 on TV, print and internet, except for certain nutritional products and no communication related to products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.
The EU Pledge is a commitment to the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health , which is of the main tools of the Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related health issues. Platform members commit to concrete actions to fight against obesity and overweight related problems. This has resulted in over 300 commitments by industry and civil society on food reformulation, advertising and marketing, labelling, nutritional education and the promotion of physical activity in the EU.
To facilitate the EU Pledge initiative, EASA has recently established an EU Pledge Accountability Mechanism. Nine experts, drawn from EASA member organisations, will form a wider panel from which an adjudicating panel will be drawn. A representative from the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland will sit on the wider panel and contribute, if selected, to the adjudicating panel.
According to Lucas Boudet, Director General of EASA: “The European Advertising Standards Alliance provides the EU Pledge with the expertise of its advertising self-regulatory network in handling consumer complaints. It thus builds on its long-standing collaboration with the EU Pledge and helps to bring it one step further. The independent monitoring of the EU Pledge Commitment by EASA is now completed with a full-fledged accountability mechanism.”