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IRIS 2012-9:1/39

United States

Disney Establishes new Standards for Food Advertising on its Programming

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Jonathan Perl

New York Law School

On 5 June 2012, the Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) introduced new standards for food advertising on its programming that targets children and families. Under the new advertising policy, “all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children will be required by 2015 to meet” the nutrition guidelines Disney established in 2006. The nutrition guidelines promote fruit and vegetable consumption and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

The announcement is the latest step in Disney’s partnership with parents to inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. The Chairman and CEO of Disney thus explained that the new policy is designed to set “new food advertising standards for kids” and that to leverage “[t]he emotional connection kids have to [Disney] characters and stories gives [Disney] a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”

Disney’s announcement marks the first time a major media company has banned junk food advertisements to children. As such, its implementation, level of success, and impact on Disney’s profitability and popularity will set the precedent for other players in the audiovisual industry and go a long way towards determining whether Disney’s new policy is the beginning of a trend or merely a passing fad.

Disney Press Release of 4 June 2012 EN