Principle 6

ALL BUSINESS SHOULD: Use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights

“We need to foster healthy, realistic self-images. Adults and adolescents must work together to highlight the existing beauty in girls as well as to celebrate other virtues that go beyond body image – such as honesty, intelligence, integrity and generosity.”

A 16-year-old girl from Jordan, living in the United States. State of the World’s Children 2011

The corporate responsibility to respect includes:

  1. Ensuring that communications and marketing do not have an adverse impact on children’s rights
    This applies to all media outlets and communication tools. Marketing should not reinforce discrimination. Product labelling and information should be clear, accurate and complete, and empower parents and children to make informed decisions. In assessing whether there is or may be an adverse impact on children’s rights and taking action to integrate and act upon the findings, consider factors such as: children’s greater susceptibility to manipulation, and the effects of using unrealistic or sexualized body images and stereotypes.
  2. Complying with the standards of business conduct in World Health Assembly instruments related to marketing and health[1]
    Comply with the standards of business conduct in World Health Assembly instruments related to marketing and health in all countries. Where national law prescribes a higher standard, business must follow that standard.
  3. The corporate commitment to support includes:

  4. Using marketing that raises awareness of and promotes children’s rights, positive self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and non-violent values.

GOOD PRACTICE: Promoting the right to play and active lives
A European laundry soap brand used its marketing campaign to also create awareness of children’s right to play, the right to express themselves – in short, the right to be a child! It encourages parents to see the value of exploration, play, activity and exercise as critical to children’s development and important for full and healthy lives, even if it means that children get dirty in the process. It has run a series of television commercials in countries all over the world emphasizing the value of play and active lifestyles.


[1]World Health Assembly instruments on marketing and health include: the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (1981) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions (national measures have been adopted in many countries to give effect to both); the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (2003); Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children; and the World Health Assembly’s Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol (2010).