The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a new set of food advertising guidelines that could leave Ronald McDonald hanging out with Joe Camel in the unemployment line. The new guidelines aim to stop companies from marketing products that are high in sugar, fat, or salt to children, forbidding everything from cartoon pitchmen to online games, the New York Times reports.
“Our proposal really covers all forms of marketing to kids,” says one FTC lawyer. “Product packaging and the images and themes on cereal boxes have tremendous appeal to kids.” The guidelines are voluntary, at least for now, but there will be significant pressure for companies to adopt them, industry experts say. “There’s clearly a demand hidden behind the velvet glove of the voluntary language,” says an executive from the Association of National Advertisers.