NEWS: ITC reduces the restrictions governing diet product ads

The television watchdogs are relaxing the rules on the promotion of dietary supplements to allow advertisers to target more people.

The television watchdogs are relaxing the rules on the promotion of

dietary supplements to allow advertisers to target more people.



The Independent Television Commission’s decision follows medical advice

that vitamins can benefit a broader range of people than TV advertisers

have been permitted to address.



The ITC’s move is in response to concern by the Broadcast Advertising

Clearance Centre that the rules for advertising dietary products on TV

are out of kilter with those for print.



Until now, television advertising could only be directed at the parents

of growing children, pregnant or breast-feeding women and elderly

people.



From now on, advertisers will be able to widen their target group to

include people on restricted- and low-energy diets, such as vegans,

women of child-bearing age - particularly if they are planning to have

children - and some people over the age of 50.



The rules for print ads have always been considerably more liberal in

allowing advertisers to target athletes in training, the bereaved and

people on low-energy diets.



‘Obviously, some of these categories would be hard to translate to TV,’

Sheila Kelly, director general of the Proprietary Association of Great

Britain, which represents all major drugs advertisers, explained.



‘But it’s clear that athletes in training would be a sector that could

easily lend itself to TV advertising,’ she added. ‘We welcome the move

because it’s often hard to explain to advertisers why there should be

two sets of rules, particularly when those for print are based on

government reports.’



Despite a relaxation of the rules, the BACC is likely to insist that

commercials for dietary supplements make it clear who they are

targeting.



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