It comes after an analysis of more than 750 advertisements, commissioned by campaign group Action on Junk Food Marketing, found that between 8 and 9pm, when children’s TV viewing peaks, 11 adverts promoting junk food were shown on television.
The analysis, by the University of Liverpool, reveals that these ads commonly used themes of ‘fun’ to attract children and/or children or child-aged characters to promote their food.
Action on Junk Food Marketing, headed by the Children’s Food Campaign and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), argue that because laws created to protect children from targeted adverts do not cover this time period (8-9pm), a glaring loophole in junk food marketing exists, which they say urgently needs to be closed.
In light of this, they are urging people to get behind their call to Government and regulator Ofcom to push back ads for unhealthy food until after the 9pm watershed, by signing their petition.
They also want consistent regulation online to stop children from being ‘bombarded’ with internet advertising.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said, ‘Parents don’t expect their children to be bombarded with adverts for unhealthy food during primetime TV, but that’s exactly what happens.
‘We want the Government to protect children by switching off junk food adverts on TV until after 9pm and putting rules in place to stop children becoming fair game for internet marketing.’