ICC Reference Guide on Advertising to Children

Drawing on almost 100 years of child development research, ICC recognises that children and teens are distinct groups. ICC considers “children” to be 12 and younger, while “teens” or “young people” are individuals 13 - 18 (age 18 is generally considered the age of majority in many jurisdictions). The ICC Code of Marketing and Advertising, and various guidance documents, reflect common sense principles in marketing to individuals who are not yet adults.

ICC’s approach to responsible marketing to children and teens is based on five core principles:

  1. ICC supports the principle of freedom of commercial communications, and opposes blanket bans on advertising to children and teens.
  2. Products that are unsuitable for purchase, use or consumption by children or teens in the jurisdiction where the marketing communication is directed should not be advertised in media targeted to them.
  3. Special care is needed when certain advertising techniques are used in marketing to children, who are still developing their understanding of commercial communications.
  4. Added privacy precautions may be appropriate when collecting information from children
  5. General principles of the ICC Marketing & Advertising Code may be amplified by sector-specific guidelines and principles.

ICC’s rich history of support for freedom of commercial communications, responsible marketing communications, and guidance on responsible marketing to children and teens is reflected a variety of useful reference documents. This guide incorporates relevant ICC materials demonstrating the global advertising industry’s commitment to strong, effective self-regulation of marketing and advertising communications to strengthen confidence in markets and help power economic growth.

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