HFSS online ad ban: Ofcom appoints ASA as co-regulator

Posted on Tuesday 18 July 2023 | IAB UK

Ofcom has announced that the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) will be co-regulator of the online ad ban for food & drink products that are “less healthy”

The online ad ban is due to come into force in 2025. The ban covers  digital ads for products that are defined in  law as  “less healthy food and drink” - a subset of products that fall within the HFSS category. There are exemptions to the ban, such as for brand adverts that don’t feature products, SME advertising and online audio ads. 

Following a secondary consultation earlier this year, Ofcom has now announced that the ASA will act as the frontline regulator for the online ad ban, in a co-regulatory relationship with Ofcom. 

Ofcom notes that the ASA’s current role administering the self-regulatory system for online advertising was a key factor in its decision, as well as there being “a benefit in having a single point of contact for consumers for advertising issues across all media”.

At IAB UK, we support Ofcom’s decision to appoint the ASA as co-regulator as providing a cohesive approach to overseeing the ban and we welcome the clarity that this news brings to our members. We will continue to keep the industry updated on developments regarding the online ad ban. 

You can read Ofcom’s update here

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