Fans of Kellogg’s cartoon characters Coco the Monkey and Tony the Tiger will be pleased to read that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has overturned a ruling that stopped the characters from appearing in adverts for “healthy foods”.
Essentially, to quote Tony the Tiger, the ASA has ruled “they’re grrrrrreat”.
While that’s not exactly true, and the ASA would rather kids didn’t have a bowl of Coco Pops, the ruling does mean that the ASA believes the decision to ban an advert for Coco Pops’ “healthy” granola cereal because it featured Coco the Monkey, who we all associate with “unhealthy” Coco Pops, was incorrect.
“We are pleased the advertising regulator has reversed its decision and ruled that this advert was not in breach of official rules,” said a spokesperson for Kellogg’s.
“We felt the original judgement had potential unintended consequences for the industry and the positive intent of the regulations – acting as a disincentive for food companies like us to develop and launch better for your alternatives at a time when people are looking to our industry to take action.”
However, health campaigners were less enamoured by the ASA’s decision.
Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, said: “These adverts are designed specifically to appeal to children with fun cartoon characters including the well-known Coco the Monkey and catchy jingles.
“Following a lobbying effort from Kellogg’s, the industry funded regulator, the Advertising Standard Authority, has rowed back from their original decision. This is what happens when a large multi-national food company uses its legal weight to fight rulings that influence their profits. Sadly, the price is the future health of our children. This is just another example of why we need strong Government action to protect children from unhealthy food marketing, starting with a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts on TV.”
For the now though, you’ll still be able to see characters like Tony the Tiger in between children’s TV programmes. Kellogg’s hasn’t had to produce a gritty, after-hours advert featuring Coco the Monkey yet, and as long as it keeps using its cherished characters to promote healthy foods, it would appear it never will.