Insights IAB UK, ISBA & IPA respond to Government’s HFSS consultation on banning ads for HFSS foods online


Following the announcement in July 2020 that the Government was considering banning all HFSS advertising online by 2022, a consultation was subsequently launched in November 2020 on how it can implement such a ban. IAB UK (representing the UK’s digital advertising industry), ISBA (representing British advertisers) and the IPA (representing the UK’s advertising, media and marketing communications agencies) have now submitted a joint response.

Essentially, IAB UK, ISBA and the IPA do not support the Government’s proposed outright ban of HFSS food and drink ads online. In their response, they say that they believe it is a disproportionate measure to limit children’s exposure to such ads, which stands to have wide-ranging impacts for brands, advertising agencies (both media and creative), media owners and the UK’s “world-leading digital advertising industry”. The response includes the following points:

  • evidence does not support a link between children’s exposure to online advertising and childhood obesity rates;
  • current measures mean that children are exposed to very little HFSS advertising, which is dropping rapidly as children’s media consumption changes; and
  • digital advertising allows for a precision targeting approach, which would not only be more effective, but also far more cost-efficient and proportionate, yet this has not been considered by Government.

To read the response in full, click here.