US: ICBA adopts child marketing guidelines

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The International Council of Beverages Associations (ICBA), the worldwide trade association representing the non-alcoholic beverage industry, has adopted guidelines on marketing to children.

The guidelines set a standard by which beverage companies voluntarily agree to eliminate the advertising and marketing of a range of beverages, including CSDs, to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children under 12.

This policy includes paid media outlets such as TV, radio, print, Internet, phone messaging and cinema.

As part of the guidelines, ICBA will also review other forms of marketing, including sponsorships, presence in schools, and point-of sale promotions by the end of 2009.

"Adopting robust guidelines such as these broadens our industry's commitment to providing meaningful leadership around the world," said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, which is supporting the action. "Our industry has long recognised the positive role it can play in promoting healthy lifestyles for consumers of all ages, including children, and this policy will only serve to strengthen that role."

The policy does not cover water, juices and dairy-based beverages, as these segments are not represented by all ICBA members.

The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo have announced their intention to implement the guidelines by the end of 2008 globally.

The ICBA intends to issue its first report on the implementation of the guidelines by the end of 2009.

"The non-alcoholic beverage industry produces a wide variety of beverages, all of which can be part of a healthy lifestyle," Neely said. "Parents are telling us they want to be the gatekeepers. We are listening and want to protect their role so that we can work together to help teach children around the world how to make more informed choices."

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