Sir, Frankly, the ASA guidelines were always going to give confectionery brand managers a headache. These products appeal to children, in part because of their bold designs.
However, if you know you can’t market to under-16s, don’t try and circumvent regulation. It’s there to protect children because they can’t grasp what advertising is, and research shows under-fives think branded food tastes better. Don’t hide your true message behind content obviously aimed at children - that’s plain wrong.
These confectionery brands don’t need to change their identities, but they do have to be truthful. If you’re selling an unhealthy snack, you shouldn’t claim to be wholesome. People don’t always eat sensibly, so you can become their favourite treat.
Work within the rules but be cleverer about positioning. Consumers want honesty and authenticity - that’s what brands should provide, not veiled attempts to entice children towards unhealthy products.
The constraints of regulation could yield some amazing, creative results.
Russ Powell, head of marketing, Red Hot Penny