Not so Fanta-stic

Coca-Cola pulls Fanta ads and apps after targeting kids

by Rosie Baker

Not so Fanta-stic. Coca-Cola has been rapped by the Ad Standards Bureau for targeting children with its latest campaign for Fanta, and marketing an unhealthy drink to kids.

The ad and apps, which offer a cartoon depiction of young people talking about the taste of Fanta, drew the ire of lobby groups including the Obesity Policy Coalition.

The apps have been pulled from iTunes and Google Play store, and it will not run the TV ads again. A Coca-Cola spokesperson said today that it will “make positive adjustments to the campaign” following the ruling.

The ruling, from June, states that: the ad’s visuals are “most attractive to and directed primarily to children under 12”.

It also noted that the characters depicted would likely appeal to young children as ‘role models’ and that the theme of the ad is “not complex … and young children would certainly understand”.

However, the ASB recognised that the programming the ads aired during were not specifically children’s programs, but noted that a “significant number” of children would “undoubtedly” view them.

The ruling stated: “The majority of the Board considered that the advertisement is more than just attractive to children and is clearly directed primarily to children. The Board considered, for the reasons outlined above regarding the visuals, language and themes that the advertisement is likely to be enjoyed by a general audience but considered that it is most attractive to and directed primarily to children under 12.”

In its response, Coca-Cola reiterated its committee to responsible marketing saying it is “disappointed” with the ASB’s ruling.

“Coca-Cola is committed to marketing its products responsibly. This commitment is articulated in our Responsible Marketing Policy. Specifically, we do not design marketing communications in a way that directly appeals to children under 12, nor do we place advertising in media which has more than a 35% audience composed of children.

“We are therefore disappointed that the ASB has found that the Fanta Tastes Like television commercial, through its themes, visuals and language, is primarily directed to children. This decision is not reflective of our intention. We respect, however, the decision of the ASB and undertake not to broadcast in the TVC in Australia going forward.”

The campaign still runs elsewhere overseas.