Kellogg’s has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for breaching rules governing the broadcast of products that could promote foods high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS) to children under 16.

The TV advert, for Coco Pops Granola, which featured the well-known Coco the Monkey character, was shown during the children’s programme ‘Mr Bean’ in January of this year.

While Coco Pops Granola was not an HFSS product, the use of Coco the Monkey could have indirectly promoted the Coco Pops original cereal, which at the time of broadcast was, the ASA said. (Last month Coco Pops original was reformulated with 6% sugar per 100g, down from 10%.)

 “We considered it was therefore incumbent on Kellogg’s to take careful steps to ensure that, if ads for non-HFSS products in the range were directed at children, they did not have the effect of promoting Coco Pops original cereal or other HFSS products in the range through the use of branding,” The ASA ruling said.

“We acknowledged that the pack shot at the end of the advert showed one moon and one star shape and featured the word “Granola”, but noted that the word was in smaller text than the brand name “Coco Pops,” that the pack was dominated by an image of Coco the Monkey, and that the background colour of the packaging was the same bright yellow as that used for all Coco Pops products,” the ASA added.

The advert must not be broadcast again in or adjacent to TV programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16.

The ruling comes just weeks after the Health and Social Care Committee called for a ban on the use of cartoon characters to promote HFSS products and ahead of the government’s consultation on  reducing childhood obesity.

Kellogg’s said it was “disappointed” with the ASA’s decision.