The food manufacturer has said that, by the end of 2020, it will not advertise on traditional media to under-12s or on social media channels to anyone under 13.
The company said the key reason it was committing to this new approach was in response to the World Health Organisation naming childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health issues of the 21st century.
Talking on its blog, Unilever said: “We’re implementing strict controls concerning the placement and content of our ads, and we won’t use any influencers, celebrities or social media stars who primarily appeal to children under the age of 12.”
As part of the new policy, it will also be limiting its use of cartoon characters. It said that while these would be used on point-of-sale materials, they would only be used for products with a specific nutritional profile.
Unilever said it would also be in introducing the ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ promise. This would be led by its ice-cream business, which includes Wall’s – the name behind brands such as Max, Paddle Pop and Twister.
There are three major focuses for the new promise – Responsibly Communicated, Responsibly Sold and Responsibly Developed.
Responsibly Communicated meant that it would shift its advertising to speak to parents and caregivers while its Responsibly Sold pledge meant it was introducing a ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ logo on its point-of sale communications that would indicate to parents and caregivers which products were designed for children.
Lastly, Responsibly Developed meant that, by the end of 2020, every ice cream in the kids’ range would have no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion.
“We at Wall’s believe that everyone deserves a little joyous treat from time to time and we strive to offer something for everyone. Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly. It is the promise of better ice cream and healthier, happier children. Both now and in the future,” said Matt Close, executive vice president, global ice cream category.
Last year Unilever revealed that it would halve its use of virgin plastics.
Nils Anderson was revealed as its new chairman in November last year following the departure of previous head Marjin Dekkers.