Another week, another ASA ruling under the new rules prohibiting the advertising high fat salt or sugar (HFSS) products to under 16s.
An ad for Doritos featured a man grabbing the hand of a colleague to suck Doritos crumbs off his fingers and ripping the trousers off another man in order to sniff Doritos crumbs from the trousers. The slogan: “Doritos. For the bold”. The ad was seen on YouTube before a video which reviewed Nintendo Switch games.
Complaint was made under the new HFSS rules querying whether the ad was targeted at under 16s through the media or context in which it appears.
The ASA Decision (link below) highlights some of the technical steps that responsible advertisers can take to ensure that inappropriate ads are not targeted to younger groups on YouTube. Walkers Snacks, owners of the Doritos brand, were regarded as having done all the right things here.
The ASA also notes that a younger child was alleged to have seen the ad in any event, on a device that was used by adults and children, but stops short of expressly laying responsibility for younger children's YouTube viewing time with the supervising adults.
We understood from the complainant that the ad had been seen by an 8-year-old child who was not signed into YouTube, using a device used by both adults and children. We acknowledged that the actions taken by Walkers Snacks had not prevented that child from being served the ad. However, we considered on balance that, because YouTube was a medium primarily used by those aged 18 and over and Walkers Snacks had targeted the ad at users with a self-reported or inferred age of 18 and over, and they had used additional factors including significant interest-based targeting to further exclude under-16s from the target audience, Walkers Snacks had taken reasonable steps to appropriately target the ad. We concluded that the ad had not been directed at those under 16.