Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint against Santa offering bottles of Coke in ad
Source: Auckland Regional Public Health Service
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Complaints Board has agreed that Santa should not be used in advertising that
promotes Coca Cola to children and young people.
A group of Healthy Auckland Together partners laid a formal complaint about Coca Cola’s sponsorship campaign "It Feels
Good to Give." The board agreed with the coalition of health agencies and NGOs that the fizzy drink is an ‘occasional
product’ and therefore should not be targeted at children and young people.
Spokesperson for the coalition, Dr Michael Hale, welcomes the Board’s ruling that Santa had a strong appeal to children
and therefore encouraged children to ‘engage with the content.’
"In this case, the advertisers’ watchdog, the ASA, has decided that the code has been breached. While it looks like
self-regulation has worked on this occasion, there is no sanction for the company," he says.
"Manufacturers and advertisers of unhealthy food need to take note. The code is there to protect children and young
people from being targeted.
"Children do not understand that they are being marketed to. Parents do understand that ubiquitous advertising aimed at
children normalises unhealthy food and drink, and encourages pestering," Dr Hale says.
ASA’s children’s code was reviewed in 2016 to reduce harm to children and young people from the promotion of unhealthy
food and drinks, as part of the previous government’s childhood obesity plan.
Both the sugar sweetened Coke and the artificially sweetened Coke in the ad are defined as ‘occasional’ drinks. They
maintain a taste for sweet beverages and food, making fruit and vegetables taste less appealing.
"These drinks also contain caffeine and displace everyday drinks like milk and water," Dr Hale says.
This is Healthy Auckland Together’s second complaint under ASA’s new children’s code and the first complaint to be
Last year the coalition complained to the ASA that the Pepsi Max campaign used cute emoji caricatures of the All Blacks
to encourage children to collect fizzy drink cans. This complaint was settled as Frucor took down the ads voluntarily.
The decision with the Healthy Auckland Together complaint is on the ASA website