-- The Coca-Cola Company does not market any of its products to children under 12. Overwhelming academic evidence shows that by the age of 12, children have developed a critical understanding of the commercial nature and persuasive intent of advertising. We also respect and recognize the role that parents and other caregivers play as gatekeepers in all decisions affecting the lives of their children -- including what they eat, drink and watch.
Our worldwide policy means that we do not target any of our marketing messages on television, radio, internet, mobile phone and product placement mediums where children under 12 make up more than 50% of the audience. This policy grew out of our more than 50-year history of not advertising sparkling beverages on TV programming targeting children under 12. The fast development of new technologies offering a wider variety of media channels prompted us to review and extend our policies.
In 2008, we actively supported the development of similar guidelines by the ICBA (International Council of Beverages Associations). Part of our commitment under these guidelines was to ensure and report compliance. Accenture was hired as an independent third party to undertake the review. The first report will be published by the end of this year and based on what we know, we expect it will show that our industry compliance rates worldwide are over 96% and in the US alone, close to 100%.
As it relates specifically to the Happiness Factory website, the only way people are made aware of this campaign is through our marketing activity which adheres to our Company policy of not marketing to children under 12. Therefore it would be highly unlikely that children under 12 would be actively seeking and accessing the website.
The Coca-Cola Company has always taken seriously its responsibility to be a good corporate citizen and to adhere to responsible business practices. We will continue to review the changing media landscape to evolve our policies and practices accordingly.
For more information about our policies and practices, please visit our Company website http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/responsible_marketing_more.html
Judith SnyderDirector, Marketing CommunicationsWWPACThe Coca-Cola Company