Recognizing and respecting that parents and caregivers are best placed to determine what is appropriate for their children to consume, the beverage industry has also long made robust commitments in the area of advertising and marketing to children.
Specifically, in 2008, ICBA established Guidelines on Marketing to Children (2008 Guidelines). Under these 2008 Guidelines, ICBA members undersigning the agreement committed not to place any marketing communications for specified covered beverages in any paid, third-party media where the audience consists of 50% or more of children under the age of 12 years. The 2008 Guidelines covered broadcast, print and digital media, and cinema.
ICBA’s 2008 Guidelines have helped positively transform the landscape of children’s advertising, and in 2015 ICBA developed enhanced Guidelines on Marketing to Children (2015 Guidelines) in an effort to cover even more programming and marketing communications to children under the age of 12. In early 2022, ICBA members again strengthened the Guidelines in key areas, significantly raising the bar for beverage marketing worldwide. The Guidelines now extend to children under the age of 13 rather than 12 years, and the definition of children’s media has been tightened by defining the audience as 30% under 13 rather than 35% under 12.
Through these Guidelines, ICBA members commit not to place any marketing communications in covered media where 30% or more of the audience consists of children under the age of 13 years. In addition, members agree not to engage in marketing communications to children in primary schools.
Covered Beverage Products
This commitment applies to: all non-alcoholic beverages including soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored and/or enhanced waters, ready-to-drink teas and coffees. This commitment does not apply to: plain water (mineral, source, purified, sparkling, and/or still), fruit or vegetable juice, and dairy-based beverages.
Marketing communications means paid advertising or commercial sales messages for covered beverage products, including marketing communications that use licensed characters, celebrities, and movie tie-ins. Existing company-owned, brand equity characters are not covered by this commitment. In addition, in primary schools, menus or displays for beverage products offered for sale, charitable donations or fundraising activities, public service messages, and items provided to school administrators for education purposes or for their personal use are not covered.
This commitment covers TV, radio, print, cinema, online (including company-owned websites, company-controlled content in social media and other online platforms, including contracted influencers), DVD, direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing, and mobile and SMS marketing. Forms of marketing that are not under the direct control of the brand owner, such as packaging, in-store and point of sale, or marketing communications with user- generated content, are not covered by this commitment.
Covered Age Range
This commitment covers marketing to children under the age of 13 years. Evidence suggests that below the age of 13 years, children may lack the necessary skills and judgment to properly understand the persuasive intent of commercial advertising. It is therefore appropriate that special care be taken in deploying advertising practices to children in this age group.