Global FMCG powerhouse Unilever has updated its marketing communication to children, keeping in mind the health risk obesity poses in the 21st century. Thus, it plans to stop advertising or marketing to children below 12 using traditional media and children below 13 using social media.
The company released a press release on February 11, stating that Wall’s, its ice cream business, will spearhead this new approach and will become the first ice cream brand to offer a ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ promise.
The promise is based on the principles of ‘Responsibly Communicated’, ‘Responsibly Sold’, and ‘Responsibly Developed’.
Unilever feels parents and caretakers should be the real decision-makers for their kids to have a treat or not and it will ensure that Wall’s marketing communication is directed at them, instead of their kids below the ages of 13.
The company will also introduce a ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ logo on its product packs and price cards - an indicator to the decision-makers that the particular item was designed and made keeping children in mind.
By end of 2020, it will also ensure that Wall’s global kids portfolio will not have more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion, keeping in line with its ‘Responsibly Developed’ promise.
Matt Close, executive vice president, global ice cream category, said, “We at Wall’s believe that everyone deserves a little joyous treat from time to time and we strive to offer something for everyone. 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.”
In addition to the three promises, Unilever also released a 15-point plan detailing its marketing communication strategy to children.
The company said that it won’t advertise in or sponsor a film whose target audience is below 12. It also mentioned that it won’t use (licensed) cartoon characters in marketing, except at point-of-sale communications with ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ products. In addition to cartoon characters, the company will not use influencers under 12 or those appealing to children below 12 years of age as well.
Among the 15 points, Unilever said it won’t offer gifts or toys in their marketing communication that appeal to children under 12, nor will it offer these anywhere except in point-of-sale communications.
The company has set December 31, 2020, as a deadline to comply with these principles. It will also provide training to marketers and agencies it works with to ensure everyone follows them.