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European Soft Drinks industry commits to act responsibly in the Digisphere


24 Feb 2010


Health & Consumers
Agriculture & Food

Introduces guidelines for Digital Marketing Communications online, on phones, games and messenger sites


24 February 2010; UNESDA, the Union of European Beverages Associations, is introducing guidelines to ensure companies and brands act responsibly in their digital marketing communications.


The new guidelines extend into the digital sphere the commitments made by the industry in January 2006, to not directly target children under the age of 12 in its advertising on TV, radio, in print or online and to not offer products for sale in primary schools across the EU27.


While the original commitments covered all forms of advertising in principle, avoiding marketing to children in the digisphere always proved more difficult to self-regulate and monitor in practice. New technologies and growing marketing experience in the area have now allowed the industry to define tangible and verifiable steps to ensure compliance and to meet UNESDA’s ultimate aim of ensuring control remains with parents and caregivers.


“These new guidelines recognize that digital communications on the internet play an increasingly important role in the marketing mix of our non-alcoholic beverage brands,” commented UNESDA president, Luis Bach.  “These guidelines apply to all digital marketing communications media purchasing in Europe as well as to all brand and corporate sites.” Signatories to the UNESDA commitment in the area of Digital Marketing Communications will ensure that internet sites, content and related technologies are designed for visitors over the age of 12.  They will apply the minimum 50% over-12 audience threshold to all placements online and will only advertise on third party sites accordingly.  They also commit to use independently audited data to confirm that site traffic meets these criteria and will brief their agencies accordingly.


As with the original UNESDA commitments which were audited for compliance by third parties including PriceWaterhouseCoopers, this commitment will be independently verified in collaboration with a representative industry body.


The new guidelines have been signed by seven UNESDA corporate members: The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Hellenic, The Gerber Emig Group Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Orangina Group and PepsiCo.

Commenting on the initiative, Stephen Loerke of the World Federation of Advertisers said, "We welcome the UNESDA initiative. It recognises the importance of ensuring that self-regulation remains effective and relevant for digital marketing communications."


The original commitments, which were made to the European Commission’s EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, included a pledge to offer a full variety of products for sale in secondary schools, through unbranded vending machines, and to offer variety and choice of products in the marketplace.  The UNESDA commitments resulted in the industry being one of just four organizations being publicly ‘named and praised’ for its actions by the then EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kiprianou. 


“We are committed to self-regulation as a fast and effective way to demonstrate that we are a  responsible industry while also enabling us to use innovative and effective communications,” concluded Luis Bach.  “As with all of our commitments we will review these digital guidelines on a regular basis and adapt them in line with evolution in the marketplace.”



For further information please contact Sam Rowe – 0475 361286 –

Note to editors:

·         UNESDA’s commitments apply to all non-alcoholic beverage categories sold by its members in the European Union, excluding natural mineral and spring waters and juices and nectars, covered by specific EU legislation (vertical directives) and which are the remit of other trade associations. 

·         The new guidelines will be implemented across the seven signatory companies by the end of 2010 and will be subject to constant review and refinement in line with emerging technologies.



UNESDA is the European non-alcoholic beverages association. Its members are soft drinks companies who conduct their business in at least five EU Member States and also national associations from across the EU27 and beyond.  Our mission is to support the growth, development and understanding of non-alcoholic beverages at a European level.

UNESDA was founded in 1958, the same year as the European Economic Community, and has been providing technical expertise and input to legislators and influencers in Brussels for more than 50 years.


Ms Sam Rowe

Cutsforth Consulting Services

Avenue des Saisons 62

1050 Brussels

+32 475 361286


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