In the United States, the Council of Better Business Bureaus administers two programs that establish guidelines for responsible advertising to children. Both programs are voluntary self-regulatory initiatives.
- The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) sets standards for all advertising directed at children 12 and under. These guidelines are designed to protect children from practices that take unfair advantage of children’s less-developed abilities to identify and understand the intent of advertising, such as embedded advertising in children’s programming.
- The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) establishes guidelines for the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in child-directed advertising. Individual food companies establish their own pledges, but all include advertising only "better-for-you" foods in children's media, restricting the use of third-party licensed characters on unhealthy foods, and refraining from product placements in children's television.
However, numerous omissions and loopholes in industry self-regulatory pledges may provide more public relations benefit to the industry than real health benefits to young people.
Database of industry pledges
The Rudd Center provides a database of industry pledges on food marketing to children worldwide. The website provides detailed information on all pledges worldwide and can be searched by company name and country.
Additional research and resources
- Current definitions of child-directed websites used by CFBAI participating companies do not include many of the websites with child-targeted games and activities that are visited by large numbers of children.
- Food industry self-regulation lacks the necessary components for successful industry self-regulation.
- Food industry self-regulatory efforts in countries around the world contain numerous limitations and inconsistencies.
- How the food and beverage industry has responded to the obesity threat.