[DE] Advertising industry adopts new code of conduct and strengthens youth protection
Dr. Jörg Ukrow
Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels
On 12 April 2021, the Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft (German Advertising Federation – ZAW) presented a revised version of the code of conduct on commercial communication for foods and beverages, which will enter into force on 1 June 2021. These self-regulatory rules apply to commercial communication such as advertising on TV, radio, posters and in magazines, as well as Internet and social media advertising, cooperation with influencers, and advertising on social networks and video platforms.
Under the revised version of the Verhaltensregeln des Deutschen Werberats über sämtliche Formen der kommerziellen Kommunikation für Lebensmittel (German Advertising Standards Council Code of Conduct on all forms of commercial communication for foods and beverages), which was first adopted in 2009, the rules prohibiting direct demands for the purchase or consumption of an advertised product aimed at children below a certain age, as well as demands that they induce their parents to purchase such a product, have been updated. The previous age limit of 12 has been increased to 14. The rules therefore apply to advertising directly aimed at children under 14, regardless of the medium or environment used. This change applies to all rules that were previously only applicable to under-12s.
The restrictions on advertising for foods and beverages have also been tightened in other ways. For example, in future, in audiovisual commercial communications aimed at children under 14, it will no longer be permitted to emphasise the positive nutritional qualities of foods of which an excessive intake is not recommended as part of an overall balanced diet. In practical terms, this concerns messages such as ‘with added vitamins and minerals’ or ‘high in wholemeal for physical performance’. The new advertising code therefore supports society’s efforts to promote a balanced diet. It also forms a part of the measures to strengthen the protection of children’s health from potentially damaging audiovisual commercial communication, as advocated by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which was amended by Directive (EU) 2018/1808.
- Verhaltensregeln des Deutschen Werberats über sämtliche Formen der kommerziellen Kommunikation für Lebensmittel
- German Advertising Standards Council Code of Conduct on all forms of commercial communication for foods and beverages
This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.