Ofcom has decided on a total ban on advertising of all food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in and around all programmes that appeal to children under 16.
The decision takes a tougher line than that which appeared in the original proposals which suggested banning ads targeting under nine-year-olds.
However, the regulator has not banned all food advertising aimed at children before the 9pm watershed – the restriction called for by a number of lobby groups.
Ofcom’s decision to apply the restrictions “any time of day or night on any channel” is likely to affect brands such as Walkers, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury’s.
However, the phrase “all programmes of particular appeal” to children will doubtless be scrutinised and tested by broadcasters and advertisers. Ofcom calculates that the impact on total broadcast revenues will be up to £39 million a year.
The new restrictions on advertising are planned to take effect at the end of January 2007 and new campaigns commissioned after that point will have to comply with the new rules.
Advertising underway or near creative completion will be allowed to run until the end of June 2007.
Ofcom will review the effectiveness of its new restrictions in autumn 2008.
Chief executive for Ofcom Ed Richards said: “based on the evidence and analysis we believe the case fro intervention is clear. We will introduce significant but proportionate measures to protect children under 16.”