In an attempt to live up to his pledge to address the UK’s augmenting obesity crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a ban on junk food advertising online and before 9 pm on TV starting from 2023.
The ban on unhealthy foods – those high in sugar, salt, and fat- is implemented before a 9 pm watershed, when most children could be viewing. This may cost TV broadcasters including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Sky more than £200 million in income every year.
The new regulations, which will be among the harshest marketing limitations in the world, will have a significant influence on the more than £600 million spent yearly by businesses on all food advertising online and on television.
According to research, one in every three youngsters leaving primary school is overweight or obese, as are nearly two-thirds of adults in England.
According to the government’s consultation on proposals to implement a ban last year, children under the age of 16 were exposed to 15 billion junk food advertising online in 2019, up from 700 million two years earlier.
The UK government’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said –
“I am determined to help parents, children and families in the UK make healthier choices about what they eat. We know children spend more time online. Parents want to be reassured they are not being exposed to adverts promoting unhealthy foods, which can affect habits for life.”
The online ad ban would apply to all paid forms of digital marketing, from Facebook advertising to Google sponsored search results, text message promotions, and paid activity on sites like Instagram and Twitter.
It is estimated that more than £400 million is spent each year in the UK on internet advertising for food products.
The new limitations, however, include a substantial number of exemptions, implying that they would fall short of the total ban suggested last year, which the advertising and broadcasting industries deemed too “indiscriminate and draconian”.
The Road Ahead
So, what does such a ban mean for popular fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC?
Online and on TV, brand-only advertising will continue to the allowed. So, companies such as McDonald’s, which is typically linked with bad eating habits, will be permitted to advertise as long as no HFSS items appear. Brands will also be permitted to continue promoting their products through their own websites and social media profiles.
The government is also exempting a number of products from the ban after a proposed definition of junk food products last year would have prevented the promotion of items such as avocados, Marmite, and cream.
These will include products that are not traditionally considered “junk food,” such as honey and jam, but will also contain zero-sugar drinks and McDonald’s nuggets, which are not nutritionally classified as an HFSS product.
Small and medium-sized businesses (those with less than 250 employees) will be permitted to continue advertising junk food items.
Furthermore, firms that do not target consumers but are part of the food industry supply chain will be allowed to advertise HFSS products in the business-to-business market.
Junk food advertising will continue to be permitted via audio media such as podcasts and radio, and there will be no new limitations for the out-of-home sector, which includes billboards, poster sites, buses, and venues such as train stations and airports.
The items on the list, as well as the ban itself, will be reviewed every few years.
The government of the UK has always taken other steps to curb obesity in the country. These include a ban on advertising discount deals on unhealthy foods, rewarding people with shopping vouchers for losing weight and exercising under an incentive program. Furthermore, all restaurants will be asked to put calorie counts on the menu.
- The Ad studio debuted in 2017 and thereafter Spotify has nearly doubled its user base.
- Spotify witnessed an 11% rise globally in mobile downloads.
- Spotify reports an average of 25% of overall ad revenue from video accounts.
- In the past one year, Spotify has witnessed a 68% increase of active advertisers, with double the ads running.
Spotify has announced video advertising on Ad studio, its self-serve platform, in Canada, the U.K, and the U.S. This update is available to select advertisers in the recently added test markets to Ad Studio in April.
The Ad Studio was created initially for small and medium-sized advertisers to connect with Spotify listeners and create budget-friendly, customized audio ads for the platform. In April, it had expanded to 18 more markets and exited the beta version.
Spotify Push into Video Ads can increase brand awareness and brand recall.
Spotify said that often users on other platforms prefer viewing video ads muted, however, Spotify listeners are’ engaging with their sounds on.’ Complimenting their audio ad offering, video ads will give brands a visual storytelling opportunity for the in-focus moments.
The streaming giant further notes that running video ads with audio produces higher brand results than going solely for video ads. Video ads with sound-on lead to 1.9x ad recall and 2.2x increase in brand awareness, according to the company data.
The company said in a statement,
“Unlike many other platforms, on Spotify, listeners are already engaging with their sound on, offering a valuable opportunity for a brand’s message to be seen and heard. This multisensory experience can extend a brand’s audio ad strategy, providing another touchpoint to capture listeners’ attention and share messages across all relevant moments.”
Rise in advertisers using Spotify Ad Studio’s creative perk
Ad studio that is available in 22 countries globally has leveled up the playing field in creative production by offering a free service to generate a brand’s ad spot. Advertiser on Spotify’s Ad Studio can upload a script and in as little as one hour (48 hours in some cases) they will deliver a fully produced ad that includes music and voice over.
The company said that 37% of Ad Studio customers rely on their free voiceover tool for ad creation. Additionally, 50% of its advertisers used this tool in May, which is an 11% rise from March.
Ad Studio offers two options of ad format for video ads- horizontal video and vertical video. Horizontal video can run across all platforms and vertical video is optimized for iOS and Android.
Why should brands advertise on Spotify?
Spotify Ad Studio enables brands to reach targeted and relevant customers. Their programmatic audio advertising is the best way to reach Gen X and beyond.
If you think ads may annoy the listeners of Spotify, think again. Statistics by Acquisio states, 75% of digital audio listeners think commercials are totally fine on a free streaming service. 47% think ads are even less intrusive on Spotify than traditional radio.
For instance, brands targeting the hip audience that are interested in current trends can consider advertising on Spotify. Advertisers can take advantage of the Spotify data of logged users like moods, preferences, listening habits, interests, and activities. This will help brands to create customized ads.
- Responding to George Floyd’s death, more than 200 advertising agencies pledged to support black talent.
- Advertising trade bodies and bosses assure to take action on inequality and maintain inclusive cultures that are sensitive to the matters of racism and injustice.
Protests continue to take place in the U.S and worldwide after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
After various brands condemn racism and voice their support for protestors, now UK bosses from big advertising agencies have signed an open letter expressing solidarity and support with the black community, committed to doing more within the digital advertising industry, and take action on inequality.
The signed letter is coordinated by Creative Equals, a body dedicated to promoting diversity in the workplace involves 200 U.K advertising bosses.
The bigger picture
Chief executives from WPP, Publicis Groupe, IPA, Facebook, GroupM, Havas, and more have come together and pledged to tackle ‘systemic inequality’ within the digital industry and championing black talent.
According to the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) report, U.K agencies along with British businesses have a diversity problem. It shows 4.7% represented Black, Asian, and minority ethnic—a grouping commonly known as BAME in the U.K. That was down from 5.5% in 2018.
The number of employees has dropped from 13.8% to 13.7% year-on-year. However, there was an uptick in the number of BAME chairpeople, chief executives, and managing directors, up from 2.9% to 4.1%.
The open letter addresses these numbers and says,” We need to drive equity in our organizations, the people we hire, the work we produce, and how we engage with clients.”
A commitment to change
As a part of the pledge, the IAB and its members ask the industry leaders to commit to change and action in their support to black talent and communities by holding themselves accountable in 10 following ways:
- Making representation and inclusivity a core part with clear KPI’s and objectives.
- Speaking out and taking action against racism using the company channels.
- Enable employees to understand their privilege as well as white privilege.
- Call out racism when encountered.
- Create safe and inclusive spaces for frank racism discussions.
- Checking with black employees at this traumatic time.
- Commit to elevate and amplify black talent, promote champions, and celebrate black employees.
- Ensuring their advertising isn’t funding white supremacy or racist content.
What are they saying
Some key points from the letter explained by UK ad executives :
“While the brutality has brought widespread shock, the direct effect of this injustice and violence on people of colour in our industry cannot be underestimated.”
“As inequality is so ingrained within the fabric of society and our sector, this is a problem we need to take action on together to affect change. We can all self-educate. We can all challenge our prejudices and those of others. We are all able to prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion at this critical time.”
The letter ends saying
“Today, we say George Floyd’s name and stand with all black talent in our industry.”
Read the full content of the letter here:
Need for the real change
This week several brands expressed their support to black communities. Although Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, and Netflix have lent their support to the Black Lives Matter movement, it is important to see solidarity translate into action for a meaningful impact especially in the digital advertising industry where it has fallen short in the workforce diversity.
The founder of 56 Black Men, Cephan Williams agrees that the brand holds higher influencing power to enact change. Now neither it’s time to remain silent nor jump the bandwagon but take action.
Awin pledges to do more for the black community and fight racial injustice. It said in a statement,
“We recognize our actions need to be ongoing and there is always an opportunity to do more. The pain in our communities and for many of our employees is real and the reality is, too many have experienced this pain for far too long. We know we don’t have all of the answers, but we know this: Complacency is not an option and we are stronger together.”
It is important for the leaders to work collectively as an industry to continue conversations, take action, and support talent in improving diversity and inclusion in the sector. Organizations should ensure not to tolerate racism at any cost.