CAP to publish new guidance on use of children as brand ambassadors and peer-to-peer marketing


The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the industry body that writes UK advertising rules, independently administered and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has committed to producing renewed guidance relating to marketing to children. 

Following a year long review which looked at the issue of under 16s as brand ambassadors and in peer to peer marketing as well as the existing CAP code, the Committee decided to draw upon existing rules to make clear what aspects relate to brand ambassadors and peer to peer marketing, and how marketers should apply them.

The guidance, which is expected to be published in Q1 2013, will clarify existing rules about marketing to children and how they relate to the practice of under 16s as brand ambassadors and peer to peer marketing techniques. This guidance will include information for practitioners on how to:

• Make any activity obviously identifiable. The guidance will provide examples on how this can be achieved; 

• Ensure marketing activity does not result in the physical, mental or moral harm of children; and

• Ensure marketing activity does not make children feel inferior or unpopular if they do not have a product or do not engage in peer-to-peer marketing as well as confirm that all rules in CAP’s dedicated Children’s section apply.

For further information, see CAP’s statement here.

The review followed the UK Government commissioned report into the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, which criticised the use of children in brand ambassador and peer-to-peer marketing and called on CAP / ASA to examine the existing self-regulatory codes.

Alexandra Scott, Senior Public Affairs Executive at the IAB said:
“Industry’s new guidance will help marketers – particularly those operating in a social media environment – by being clear on how the existing advertising rules apply to brand ambassador and peer-to-peer marketing.”