Ice cream might be the favorite treat of many kids, but Unilever, the parent company of ice cream brands Breyers, Klondike, Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s, says it plans to stop advertising to children by the end of 2020 because of rising child obesity rates.
Unilever Takes Initiative To Market Products To Children Responsibly
Unilever stated that it will no longer use traditional media to market directly to children younger than 12 and will not use social media channels to market to children younger than 13 after 2020. The new initiative will kick off with its Wall’s ice cream brands. Wall’s products will have a “Responsibly Made for Kids” logo on packaging so consumers know which items are made specifically for children. Ice cream products designed for kids will have a maximum of 110 calories and 12 grams of sugar per serving. The decision was made after the World Health Organization named childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health issues of this century. Unilever is striving to help parents, caregivers and kids make informed choices about the food and drinks they buy.
Unilever Introduces New Healthy Promises
Unilever created new marketing principles to ensure its products are “responsibly communicated, responsibly sold and responsibly developed.” In addition to stopping marketing targeted to children under 12, the company will also:
- Avoid advertising in or sponsoring films, offering gifts and toys, or using cartoon characters that appeal to children under 12.
- Stop using influencers who are or appeal to kids under 12.
“Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly. It is the promise of better ice cream and healthier, happier children. Both now and in the future.” said Matt Close, Unilever’s Executive Vice President, Global Ice Cream Category.
Mars Chocolate And General Mills Set Ethical Marketing Rules
Other CPG companies have also put limits on advertising certain products to children. In 2007, Mars Chocolate announced a global commitment to stop advertising food, snack and confectionery products to children if more than 25% of the audience was younger than 12, because Mars believes children cannot identify and understand the persuasive intent of advertising.
General Mills established a Responsible Marketing Council that holds annual advisory reviews of all new product development plans, and brand marketing plans for products marketed to children. General Mills does not directly advertise food or beverage products in schools, regardless of the nutritional value of the product. General Mills also does not run any product advertising on programming or media meant for children under six.
CPG Brands Commit To Mission-Driven Positions, Opening Up Opportunities
Data shows that Millennials and other consumers look toward brands that are mission-driven and demonstrate strong values. Consumers may support mission-driven brands by making purchases because these brands are genuine and authentic, and their values align with consumers’ values. By taking a stand and making social responsibility a priority, brands can better connect with consumers by gaining their trust which can encourage brand loyalty.
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