Dough! Sky breached junk food rules by running Domino's Pizza ads during The Simpsons

24th February 2009

Watchdogs have reprimanded Sky TV for running pizza advertisements during The Simpsons.

Ofcom ruled that the satellite broadcaster had broken its rules that bar junk food promotions on output popular with children.

The complaint was made by the National Heart Forum which claimed Sky tried to get around the rules by showing the making and delivery of a Domino's pizza rather than the pizza itself.

The National Heart Forum has objected to advertisements for Domino's during the Simpsons as being against both the 'spirit and the letter' of Ofcom's rules
Viewers saw two men watching television and ordering a pizza, followed by a pizza being made, delivered and despatched.

Jane Landon, of the NHF, said the adjudication was merely a slap on the wrist.

'Domino's has just announced strong profits. This is on the back of selling a lot of pizzas thanks to a promotion Ofcom has found broke advertising rules,' she added.

She said it was crucial to block the promotion to children of products high in fat, salt and sugar.

The Dominos ad has been criticisised by Ofcom
A Sky spokesman said: 'Sky's strong view is that the credits did not breach either the letter or the spirit of the rules.'

He said The Simpsons, which goes out on Sky 1, had a mainly adult audience. Domino's ended its sponsorship deal late last year.

Restrictions on advertising unhealthy food to children were brought in in 2007 amid concern about rising childhood obesity.

The Ofcom report states: 'While the credits do not feature any one complete pizza, it is clear, in Ofcom’s view, that the sponsorship of The Simpsons on Sky One promotes not only the Domino’s Pizza delivery service but also its pizzas.'

The report added that more than half of Domino’s pizza products are high in fat, sugar or salt and that 'Ofcom considers that this particular sponsorship amounted to product sponsorship'.

A spokesman for Ofcom said Sky’s breach of the rules would be kept on record.