Ads are everywhere in China. Celebrity sponsors appear on snack packaging, ads are projected on the walls of the Metro and every website has a popup that can’t be clicked out of. Advertising laws in China have not been updated since 2000. A lot has happened in 15 years!
Starting in September new regulations will take place to protect Chinese people from false advertising. These laws also restrict the use of child sponsors, as well as baby formula and will add further restrictions to tobacco advertisements – a no-brainer in a country where over 1 million people die from smoking each year. But why restrict baby formula?
The baby formula industry is growing rapidly. Between 2013 and 2014 the industry revenue grew almost 18% reaching an all-time high of $21.8 billion according to adage.com. The industry growth is not the problem; it is the lack of exclusive breast-feeding.
While almost 80% of women do at least some breast feeding within the first 4 months, less than 16% of women exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. According to the World Health Organisation, it is recommended that women exclusively breastfeed for a minimum of 6 months. The Peoples Republic of China has set a goal to have at least 80% of women exclusively breastfeeding for 4 months, and to help meet this goal, the new advertising regulations will ban any baby formula from claiming to replace breast milk either fully or partially.
This, of course, will affect the milk powder companies and the way they approach their advertising. According to one agency working on milk powder brands here in Shanghai, the creative will have to bend to be able to accommodate the laws. One thing they mention is working to find creative ways to avoid portraying children as the hero of a milk powder TVC – one of the new regulations will forbid kids from being the spokesperson for the commercial.
While it does not seem as though the advertising will be cut down, they also currently do not seem to be adding to the scope of work, but will try to get around the new laws by using different media platforms and figure out the best solution to pass censorships.
Perhaps these new advertising laws will be a step in the new direction for China. If these new laws go well maybe, just maybe, we can expect to see the next adjustments before we put a man on Mars.
婴儿配方奶粉行业增长迅速。在 2013年到2014年间， 根据 adage.com的数据显示，行业收入同比增长近18％，达到了有史以来的高点：218亿美元。行业增长不是关键，关键是缺少纯母乳喂养。