Disney to banish junk-food ads from kid shows

With growing public and regulatory interest in how not-exactly-healthy foods are advertised and marketed toward children, the Walt Disney Company is announcing today that any foodstuffs advertised during kid-focused TV programming on its many channels will have to meet the company’s nutritional standards.

The new rules, which the company says are merely the adoption ofsuggested government guidelines from last year, would apply to ads that air on Disney-owned channels during programming aimed at children younger than 12 years old.

While the Disney Channel itself doesn’t exactly run standard TV ads, the sponsorships and promotions run on the channel will meet the same standards as the company’s ad-supported channels. This includes ABC, which would have to follow the nutritional guidelines for ads running during its Saturday morning cartoon block, where some of us first learned about the wonderful world of sugary cereal ads.

Now, cereals that advertise during these shows will need to have less than 10g of sugar per serving.

While Disney admits it will initially lose some revenue as it weeds out advertisers who don’t meet the new standards, company chairman Robert Iger clarifies, “This is not altruistic. This is about smart business,” pointing out that Disney has sold around two billion Disney-branded servings of healthier food since 2006.

The company is also set to release more Disney-licensed “Mickey Check” products into supermarkets. These items will meet the new standards for calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.