A series of online chocolate adverts have been banned after they were deemed to be targeting children with high-sugar treats.
The ads for Kinder were banned after watchdogs ruled that they broke rules by tailoring their online advertisements towards youngsters.
The Children’s Food Campaign group, known as Sustain, complained to the Advertising Standards Aithority (ASA) about the ads.
Four out of five complaints were upheld by the ASA which ordered the removal of the online ads.
The issues with Ferrero UK Ltd, trading as kinder, ranged from ‘high in fat, salt or sugar’ (HFSS) ads on websites, to YouTube videos and an app.
HFSS advertisements include the mention of high sugar, high fat products – which were outlawed for under 16s by the AAS in 2017.
An official report stated that three Kinder ads were targeted for using content aimed directly at preschool or primary children.
The outcome saw the removal of two websites, an app and a YouTube channel for Kinder seen on 4 January 2018.
The first advert featured on a website, which included text that stated, “Children must be between the ages of 3 – 12 years old to sign up”.
Next, a website that included games, videos and stories was targeted after it labelled as suitable for children of three years plus.
The site included short animations of Kinder Surprise toys ending with the text “Imagination is the real surprise”.
Another complaint revolved around The Magic Kinder app, which incorporated the chocolate logo and a range of young children’s activities.
A section called the “Surprisery” enabled users to collect virtual Kinder Surprise toys and win points by playing games.
On first downloading the app a teddy bear icon in the top left appeared, with text stating “Welcome” – and users were prompted to “Get your Daily Surprise”.
Finally, The Magic Kinder YouTube channel featured a range of videos similar to those that appeared on the Magic Kinder website.
In response to the ban, Ferrero UK Ltd said it was their policy to direct all advertising towards adults.
Addressing complaints about their website, Ferrero said the site was intended to be interacted with by parents and children together.
The chocolate giant claimed the content on the site did not feature any materials that could reasonably be deemed to be food product advertising.
While on the app, the firm said that in order to open an app store account the account holder must have a credit card, for which they must be aged 18 years or over.
They said as it was downloaded by parents it could not be said to be targeting children.
Finally, Ferero acknowledged that “Kinder” was used in some of their YouTube video content – but with the brand and not images of chocolate.
The final verdict saw that four ‘HFSS ads’ must not appear to target under 16’s again in any format.
An ASA spokesman said: “The ads must not appear again in the form complained about.
“We told Ferrero UK Ltd to ensure that HFSS product ads were not directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared.
“We also told them to ensure that HFSS product ads that were targeted through their content at pre-school and primary school children did not include a promotional offer or licensed characters popular with children.”