Timed to be released simultaneously with the Federal Trade Commission's food marketing report (see related story), the Council for Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) released a progress report of its own on the self-regulatory effort it has sponsored, the "Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative."
Under the CBBB initiative, launched in November 2006, 13 companies have pledged to limit advertising aimed at young children to healthier food options and lifestyle messaging. In keeping with the initiative's goals, each company was allowed to fashion its own specific pledge and implementation plan. Those individual pledges were unveiled in July 2007. The purpose of the report was to summarize progress made by participating companies.
"Our review on the implementation of participant pledges during the first six months after the announcement (July - December 2007) shows that pledge compliance is excellent, that the landscape of children's advertising has already changed significantly, and that more positive changes lie ahead," the CBBB reported.
During the July - December 2007 measurement period, the six companies scheduled to implement their pledges successfully did so, the CBBB said. The Coca-Cola Company, Hershey Company and Mars did not engage in child-directed advertising, as pledged. Kraft limited all, and Campbell Soup Company and Unilever limited almost all, of their child-directed advertising to healthier product offerings, according to the report.
Other companies scheduled to implement their pledges are ahead of schedule, the CBBB stated. For example, Burger King has launched a "Kids Meal" that meets all of its healthier nutrition criteria, and will be the focus of its advertising for the remainder of the year-putting it six months ahead of schedule.