China bans celebrity endorsement of health and formula foods22 Nov 2022
China is to ban celebrity endorsement or advertising of certain products, completely banning high profile figures with “lapsed morals” as the country attempts to drive society towards “core socialist values”.
State authorities said this week they would impose a blanket ban on celebrities endorsing foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) as well as tobacco-based products (including e-cigarettes), off-campus education, medical care, medicines, and medical devices.
“Celebrities should consciously practice socialist core values in their advertising endorsement activities, and endorsement activities should conform to social morals and traditional virtues,” the regulations said.
“In recent years, some well-known artists, entertainers, online influencers etc – which we shall term as celebrities – were involved in illegal, fake advertising, or even promoted the wrong values in their endorsement activities.“
In direct criticism to companies that use celebrities, the statement added that enterprises regarded traffic as of “utmost importance” and had selected celebrities who had broken the law or moral rules to endorse their products.
The announcement, which came into force earlier this week and was jointly issued by seven Chinese government institutions, urged companies to boycott celebrities who engaged in illegal behaviour such as drug addiction, gambling, drunk driving, indecent assault, tax evasion and fraud.
Regulations will uphold moral integrity
The move is seen as a response to a number of recent scandals involving some of China’s most popular celebrities that has seen them become blacklisted in the entertainment industry.
According to the authorities, the introductions of the regulations was an attempt to address celebrities illegally or falsely endorsing “bad ideas”.
Zhang Guohua, president of China’s advertising association, said the regulations would contribute to a “more standardised and healthy improvement” of the industry.
Zhang added “This does not mean that celebrity endorsements will be limited, but everyone will be more cautious, and the artists will be more responsible and self-disciplined.
“As long as the law is complied with, celebrity endorsements will still be carried out normally within the scope of compliance and legality, so the impact is positive.”
He said those who had “enjoyed the benefits of being a public figure” should prepare to be restrained in their actions because of their influence as role models.
“You have such an industry status and influence, so you should be cautious in your words and deeds,” he added.
Mengniu terminates contract of celebrity singer
While celebrity endorsement is a relatively new concept for China, several personalities have lent their name to a product only to fall from grace in the public eye, causing financial and reputational damage to associated brands.
Last year, Show Lo Chih Hsiang, a Taiwanese singer and actor parted ways with dairy brand Mengniu 24 hours after signing a lucrative endorsement contract.
The agreement was immediately terminated after his long-term girlfriend revealed that he was a serial cheater in a message posted on Chinese microblogging website Weibo.
© AdobeStock/Postmodern Studio
Chinese actress fined for false claims
In June of this year, Chinese actress Jing Tian was fined RMB7.22 million (€980K) for advertising a weight management product that authorities said made false claims about its effectiveness.
Tian, who was brand ambassador for Infinite Free, claimed a fruit and vegetable-based confectionery could prevent sugars, oils and fats from absorbing in the body – a claim rejected by the State Administration for Market Regulation (AMR).
The actress later apologised on Weibo, stating that she had not done enough due diligence on the product prior to signing the contract.
“I fully accepted the penalty and paid the fine immediately. In future, I will continue to take responsibility for the products I endorse to consumers,” she said.
Commenting on the implications of the new regulation, Ashley Jia from Shanghai law firm HFG Law & Intellectual Property, said the rules now emphasised the punishment on the celebrity themselves.
“Most celebrities will use the name of their agency or company to enter the endorsement contract with the advertisers, but the guideline further emphasises that if the ads violate the regulation, then celebrities themselves shall bear relevant responsibility as well,” Jia said.
Citing the example of Tian, the AMR fined her directly rather than imposing the fine to her company or agency.
“With such regulation, the celebrity will be difficult to escape from the potential punishment after breaching the Ad law.”
Jia also pointed out that the guideline stipulated that the celebrities needed to actually use the commodity before the endorsement and ensure that the usage time or quantity was sufficient to produce daily consumption experience.
“If the celebrities act as the brand ambassador, they need to specify the exact name of the product they have experienced,” Jia added.
UK High Court allows Oatly to use 'milk' on packaging
17 Jan 2024
Oatly has scored a landmark victory in the use of the word milk after the UK High Court ruled against the country’s dairy industry and permitted the term to be used on packaging.Read more
Chobani expands drink presence with La Colombe acquisition
16 Jan 2024
Greek yoghurt giant Chobani has purchased US coffee brand La Colombe Coffee Roasters for $900 million, furthering its expansion into beverage categories like coffee, oat milk, creamer and ready-to-drink offerings.Read more
PepsiCo to reshape convenient foods portfolio with less sodium and more plant proteins
10 Jan 2024
PepsiCo has revealed details of two nutrition goals that look to reduce sodium and boost consumption of legumes, whole grains, and plant-based proteins as part of the multinational’s expanded convenient foods portfolio.Read more
Meet the innovative ingredients showcased at Fi Europe’s New Product Zone
3 Jan 2024
The Food Ingredients category at Fi Europe’s New Product Zone featured 19 distinct and innovative products. From fermented delights to sustainable proteins, these ingredients are ready to make their mark in the market.Read more
Fi Europe’s New Product Zone elevates the nutrition of everyday indulgences
22 Dec 2023
At Fi Europe 2023's New Product Zone, eight health ingredients, each offering an enhanced nutritional profile of various products, were on display. These ingredients address the evolving needs of the food and beverage industry and cater to consumers se...Read more
MyAir plans to expand personalised adaptogen products to UK
15 Dec 2023
After launches in Japan and the US, B2B personalised nutrition company MyAir is eyeing the UK market with its white-label functional food and drink products. “Taste is a must – but it's not enough,” says its CEO. “Food has become functional and persona...Read more
Augmented technology is the gateway to new food experiences
13 Dec 2023
Harnessing augmented reality as a digital tool could offer consumers increasingly personalised food and beverage experiences, opening up new ways to see and taste products, according to a report by Canvas8 and Givaudan.Read more
Colombia introduces tax on ultra-processed foods
7 Dec 2023
In a bid to curb rates of obesity and other non-communicable disease, the Colombian government has introduced a tax on various ultra-processed food (UPF) and drink products.Read more
Snack trends, ingredient claims, and plant-based perceptions: Highlights from Fi Europe 2023, part 1
7 Dec 2023
Value-led snacking, sustainability storytelling, and the importance of having a ‘star ingredient’: we asked consumer analysts and market experts at Fi Europe about the trends and innovations that are shaping the food industry.Read more
Consumers want more plant-based meat without GM ingredients
28 Nov 2023
Plant-based meat has been a hot and popular category for several years, but not all North American shoppers are embracing vegetarian alternatives that contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients, according to the Non-GMO Project.Read more