Putting Caregivers Back In Drivers Seat
Beginning next year, Unilever – the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Wall’s, and 400 others – will no longer be marketing its food and beverage brands to children under the age of 16. Citing “new global principles” for responsible marketing, the conglomerate has decided to raise the age limit from 13 to 16 due to the prevalence of social media in teenagers’ lives. The ban will extend to traditional media sources, such as tv and print advertising, though P-O-S will comply with each country’s specific regulations.
In addition to its commitment to not market to teenagers, the company says it will no longer collect or store data on customers under 16 years old, engage influencers or celebrities who primarily appeal to that cohort, and will continue to refrain from promoting products in schools. Previously, the firm has engaged in a similar initiative to halt advertising ice cream to children to help fight childhood obesity.
Matt Close, Unilever’s President of Ice Cream, said that while the company does have varied desert brands under its care, it will “market those treats responsibly. That means we need to recognize the power of social media and influencer marketing on children’s choices – and address it,” he said. “It’s our goal to continue to reduce children’s exposure to advertising from the food and beverage industry and to support parents instead. This way, caregivers are put back in the driving seat as decision-makers when it comes to their kids having a treat.”