Advertising to children

The following TMT practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advertising to children
  • Regulatory regime overview
  • Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
  • CAP Code and BCAP Code
  • Children’s recognition of advertising
  • Sexualised imagery
  • Child safety
  • Credulity and unfair pressure
  • Direct exhortation
  • Promotions
  • More...

Advertising to children

This Practice Note summarises the key issues that arise when advertising to children. It covers the regulatory regime, the recognition of advertising by children, sexualised imagery, child safety, credulity and unfair pressure, direct exhortation, promotions, age-restricted products and targeting, as well as particular sector considerations, such as for betting and gaming, alcohol and food advertising. It also considers in-app purchases and the processing of children’s data for the purposes of advertising and marketing.

Regulatory regime overview

Advertising to children is regulated by a mix of UK law and self-regulatory advertising codes, summarised below.

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, SI 2008/1277 (CPUTR 2008) prohibit unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices, including in respect of advertising and marketing. The CPUTR 2008 implemented Directive 2005/29/EC (OJ L 149/22), the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (EU UCPD) into UK law and apply regardless of whether the advertising is targeted at children.

In respect of advertising, the most relevant unfair commercial practices prohibited by the CPUTR 2008 are misleading actions and misleading omissions (eg providing false information or omitting/hiding material information in advertising, which causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision they would not have taken otherwise).

Whether a commercial practice is unfair will be judged by reference to its effect on the ‘average consumer’. Where advertising is

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