Marketing targeted at minors is assessed more strictly than other marketing, as because of their age, children are more easily influenced by marketing than adults.
Marketing aimed at children must be kept clearly separate from other entertainment that reaches and is intended for children.
Marketing is inappropriate for children if, for example, it is
- disguised as a competition, cartoon or craft activities
- placed in an online game, television programme, other entertainment or similar.
A company may sponsor entertaining content or an event intended for children. The sponsor has the right to add an identifiable logo to the content, but they may not place any other advertising that interests children in the content or event they sponsor.
Marketing aimed at children may not violate the parents’ right to raise their children
Marketing that targets children must not encourage the child to influence the family’s purchasing decisions or otherwise violate the parents’ right to raise their children.
The parents’ right to raise their children is violated if the advertisement
- aims a direct invitation to buy a product or service at children and includes such words as ‘buy’, ‘try it’, ‘you will get’, ‘you will experience’
- urges children to convince their parents to purchase a product
- instead of the product itself, the main message is a game with a strong emotional appeal to children, a cartoon character, a free toy or a competition.
An advertisement targeted at children also violates the parents’ right to raise their children and good advertising practices if it
- demeans, subjugates or discriminates against a person on the basis of their gender or other similar characteristic
- contains frightening scenes or violence
- sets an inappropriate model of behaviour, including situations that might harm a child who imitates such behaviour
- gives the impression that human dignity, quality of life and good social relationships can be bought
- suggests that buying a product is a way of being a good parent.
Direct marketing is not suitable for children
Consumers under the aged of 15
- may not be targeted by direct marketing, such as telemarketing, without the parents’ consent. Marketing letters addressed to parents which have been designed to appeal to children by their appearance are also regarded as direct marketing targeted at children.
Consumers aged from 15 to 17
- may only be targeted by direct marketing of products that can be purchased with pocket money and that are typical of this age group.
You can protect your child from direct marketing
- by contacting the marketer or direct marketing blocking services.
- by asking your telephone operator how you can block incoming calls and text messages on your child’s mobile phone.
Follow these steps if you notice marketing that is inappropriate for children
If you come across marketing that is unsuitable for children, you can complain to
- the advertiser
- the store
- the publisher of the advertisement, including a TV company, newspaper or magazine.
You can report inappropriate advertising targeted at children to
- the Consumer Ombudsman, who supervises marketing targeted at children
- the Data Protection Ombudsman, who supervises abuse of personal data and other data protection violations.