French soft drink makers adopt internet marketing guidelines

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing Coca-cola Advertising

Leading soft drinks companies in France have agreed to new guidelines to restrict the exposure of young children to internet marketing.

Members of the Syndicat National des Boissons Rafraîchissantes (SNBR) decided in 2006 to stop targeting TV advertising to children under 12. Now the French soft drinks association has extended its commitment to the online sphere.

New rules

Its members have agreed not to communicate online on websites where more than half the audience is made up of children aged 12 or under. In addition, they have agreed to ensure that brand and corporate websites are specifically developed for people above this age.

SNBR said these principles would be reviewed and, if necessary, updated to fit the evolution of digital communication. An independent body will be employed to verify that the new marketing commitments have been respected.

The French trade body counts 10 members, with a combined turnover of €2.5bn, including some of the biggest soft drink names operated in France such as Coca-Cola France, Danone Eaux France, Orangina Schweppes and Pepsico France.

European guidelines

The commitment from the French group comes after the Union of European Beverages Associations (UNESDA) established similar guidelines at a European level in March this year. It also agreed not to restrict digital advertising to forums where more than half the audience is made up of people over 12 years old.

The pan-European trade body said the specific digital rules recognise the increasingly central role that the internet now has in the marketing mix of beverage brands.

Technological advances have also made it possible to enforce guidance on online marketing. Independent auditing data now makes it possible to verify visitor numbers to websites and track audiences so as to confirm that companies and ad agencies are following the rules.

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