Channel 9’s popular renovation show The Block is watched by lots of children. When we saw an ad featuring two contestants walking along the street eating McDonald’s food, then telling a tradesman that everyone else is at McDonald’s trying the new chicken menu, we lodged a complaint with Ad Standards.
The audience of children could be large, given the show’s popularity. We thought this junk food advertisement would reach many children and the use of the show’s stars would appeal to them.
But a loophole in the food industry’s own code says that ads that speak to adults as well as children are ok; the code only restricts ads that are specifically directed to children. Our complaint to Ad Standards was dismissed. We will continue to make complaints when we see examples like this because junk food ads in popular shows give children the wrong messages about what to eat. If you see an ad like that let us know.