The Content of Food and Alcohol Advertising Codes -- The Food Pyramid Meets the Regulatory Pyramid: Responsive Regulation of Food Advertising to Children

35 Pages Posted: 2 May 2015 Last revised: 4 May 2015

See all articles by Belinda Reeve

Belinda Reeve

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: May 1, 2015

Abstract

This chapter forms part of a thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of a PhD from the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney.

This chapter examines the substantive content and coverage of the two main food industry initiatives regulating food advertising (the RCMI and QSRI), and compares them to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising (and Packaging) Code (ABAC). A key source of data for the chapter is advertising complaint determinations from the Advertising Standards Boards (ASB) and from the ABAC Adjudication Panel. After an outline of the food and alcohol industry codes, I discuss the meaning of ‘children’ and the definition of media ‘directed primarily to children’ contained in the RCMI and QSRI. I describe how these initiatives also apply to advertising content that is ‘directed primarily to children’. I compare this aspect of the codes to the ABAC’s provisions on alcohol advertising with strong or evident appeal to children. Next I consider the communication channels and persuasive techniques covered by each code and describe the RCMI and QSRI’s application to a sub-set of unhealthy food products. The final section of the chapter considers the advertising messaging requirements of the food industry initiatives. The major conclusion reached in the chapter is that the codes contain a number of loopholes that undermine their impact on children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising. Thus, throughout the chapter I comment on the potential to strengthen the codes and the feasibility of such improvements happening through self-regulation.

Keywords: Advertising complaints, Advertising Standards Board, food advertising, alcohol advertising, self-regulation

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Reeve, Belinda, The Content of Food and Alcohol Advertising Codes -- The Food Pyramid Meets the Regulatory Pyramid: Responsive Regulation of Food Advertising to Children (May 1, 2015). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/38, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2601250

Belinda Reeve (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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