Guiding Principles for Advertising and Marketing Communication to Children

Play is essential to healthy child development and toys are integral to play. Accordingly, it is appropriate to make children, parents, and caregivers aware of the availability and benefits of specific toys using marketing techniques, provided this is carried out in a responsible manner.
ICTI and its members are committed both to maintaining ethical standards in marketing and advertising to children across all channels of communication as part of an advertising and marketing self-regulation program, and to adhering to local government regulations and requirements.

The object of this set of guiding principles is to ensure that toy industry advertisers and marketers develop and maintain a high sense of social responsibility in advertising and marketing to children around the world. It is not meant to be a code.

Rather, these guiding principles must necessarily exist in an environment of national and international codes or practices. ICTI’s intent is not to supersede, but rather to provide them as the base level of acceptable practice for the worldwide toy industry. The ICTI principles may also be subject to local amendment so as to conform to prevailing community standards.
Individual country codes for advertising and marketing communication to children must address and set specific guidelines for the following important principles regarding advertising and marketing communication to children:

  • Advertising content and placement must be suitable for the children to whom it is directed.
  • There must be no sexualization of children.
  • Presentation of products must be factual and clear to the children to whom it is directed.
  • Products must be appropriate and safe for children of the age to whom they are directed.
  • Situations depicted in advertising and marketing must be socially appropriate.
  • Parental authority must be recognized and supported.
  • Pricing, if indicated, must be accurate and clear to those parents and children to whom the advertising is directed.
  • Competitors must be portrayed fairly.
  • Any qualifying statements must be clear to those parents and children to whom they are directed.
  • Popular personalities should be used appropriately.
  • Premiums should be used and presented responsibly. There should be no sales pressure.
  • Children’s privacy must be protected absolutely.
  • There must be no reference to or association with alcohol related products/companies.
  • A responsible lifestyle and consumption of food and beverages must be depicted.
  • Advertising must be clearly separated from programming.
  • Online advertising must indicate a clear, prominent, and comprehensive privacy policy for websites or online services directed to children.