London, Feb. 24 (ANI): Domino Pizza’s sponsorship of the cartoon series ‘The Simpsons’ has broken strict guidelines against junk food companies advertising on television for the first time since they were set up to combat childhood obesity, a ruling says.
The rules, which were introduced in April 2007, prohibit advertisement of food that is high in fat, sugar and salt during programmes, which are mainly watched by children.
The regulator body Ofcom ruled against Sky One channel after The National Heart Forum complained about the sponsorship deal, which saw the pizza company promote its delivery service at the start of each cartoon and the start of each advertising break, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Domino’s argued that it was advertising its delivery service, rather than its pizzas and pointed out that 47 per cent of its products would not fall foul of the junk food rules.
The National Heart Forum, an umbrella group of health charities and lobby groups, said the sponsorship broke the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.
Ofcom agreed and has given Sky One a yellow card, as no fine will be levied.
In October, while Ofcom was still investigating, Domino’s dropped its sponsorship. The Simpsons is now sponsored by the directories service 118 118.
According to the rules, pizza and burger companies cannot promote their products, but they can promote their brands.
During the introduction of the rules, they were highly opposed by the food campaigners for being full of loopholes, while those in the food industry pointed out that guidelines would make many mainstream foods ‘banned’, such as some cheese, Marmite and most breakfast cereals. (ANI)