Unilever rapped for not promoting a healthy lifestyle to kids

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 5 November 2014
Paddle Pop Dragon Poppers

Advertising to kids is a no no, and Paddle Pops Lion has fallen foul of the The Advertising Standards Bureau. The ad watchdog has has upheld a complaint against an ad from Unilever featuring the Paddle Pop Lion, which failed to promote a healthy lifestyle to children.

The ad showed kids running towards a castle eating Dragon Pop Icy Poles, and features the Paddle Pop Lion as the main character and is subtitled with the words “True heroes balance energy intake with activity. Enjoy Paddle Pop as 
a treat within a balanced diet." The TV also promoted a competition for Nickelodeon's Slimefest, an event for children.

The complaints took issue with the product being marketed to children given its high sugar content. One complaint said: "We ask the board to apply a common sense analysis to find that Dragon Poppers are not a healthy dietary choice appropriate for advertising to children."

The ASB partially upheld the complaint under the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) which requires advertisers to represent healthier dietary choices and reference a healthier lifestyle.

While the watchdog found the Paddle Pops did meet the criteria for "healthier dietary choices," it found that Unilever failed to promote healthy dietary habits.

It said: "The board determined that in the medium of television, the messaging relating to good dietary habits was not strong and did not meet the above criteria and therefore was not sufficient to meet the threshold test of messaging that would encourage good dietary habits."

In response, Unilever said that through its depiction of physical activity and its subtitled message "it is clear that the TVC does not undermine but rather promotes the importance of healthy or active lifestyle as well as balanced diets."

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