World-First Health and Wellbeing Policy

Tristan Cotterill

The Australian Out of Home industry has united through the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) to take an active role in limiting the public’s exposure to discretionary food and drinks.

The industry will also donate up to AUS 3 million each year to promote healthy diets and lifestyle choices on its signs.

The national OMA Health and Wellbeing Policy restricts the advertising of discretionary food and drink products on Out of Home signs within a 150 metre sightline of a school. The Policy aims to meet community expectations and support government efforts to tackle overweight and obesity in Australia.

The OMA has closely consulted with industry, food groups, advertisers, health promotion experts and government and conducted extensive research on Australian and international best practice to inform this world-first policy.

The Policy features include:

  • Discretionary food and drink product advertising to be restricted from areas within 150 metres* of a primary of secondary school in Australia. Food and drink advertising to be based on Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Health Star Rating system.
  • $3 million of advertising space across Australia every year donated to feature targeted advertising campaigns supporting healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
  • Full creative support from the OOH industry to create efficacious and meaningful campaigns that will reach the targeted audience.
  • Compliance monitoring of the national restrictions with annual reports provided to state and federal governments.
  • Annual meetings to be held with key industry stakeholders and health promotion experts to assess the implementation and efficacy of the restrictions and the educational programs.

OMA CEO Charmaine Moldrich told us “The Health and Wellbeing Policy reflects the fact that the Out of Home industry has listened to the community and government and pro-actively introduced a new voluntary self-regulating code to address what has become a critical issue in Australian society. Almost one in four children is overweight or obese and this complex problem requires a comprehensive set of policies and programs to help Australians lead healthier lives, We are concurrently placing a strong emphasis on education with $3 million of advertising available for health promotion campaigns every year. The Out of Home industry is proud to take a leadership position with the world’s first industry-backed, national restriction policy for discretionary food on outdoor advertising. As experts in advertising, we want to use the power of Out of Home to make a real difference.”

The OMA has consulted with the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC), the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation on the new policy.

John Broome, CEO of the AANA was quoted as saying “Advocating high ethical and professional standards across Australia’s marketing community is at the centre of the AANA’s work and we support the Outdoor industry’s approach to discretionary food and drink advertising.”

With more than a decade’s experience in implementing and monitoring targeted geographical ‘place-based’ policies, the OOH industry has previously met and exceeded community expectations around the advertising of alcohol, gambling and adult products, ensuring these products are not seen within a 150 metre sightline of schools.

The OMA National Health and Wellbeing Policy will come to effect on 1 July 2020. Visit for the relevant materials and processes.

Source: *The 150 metre distance used by MOVE is based on the maximum viewing distance of signs. While talking about maximum distance, there are two concepts to clarify, ‘readability’ and ‘visibility’. ‘Readability’ identifies the distance within which the advertisements are readable, while ‘visibility’ identifies the distance within which the images shown are able to attract the human eye’s attention, even if the images are not perfectly identifiable. Both international and Australian research demonstrates that, even for the largest signs, the maximum distance for readability is 140 metres. Building a buffer zone around schools of 150 metres is the most effective way to ensure that signs are not legible from school grounds.

The AdTECH: OOH – Sydney Conference will take place on Tuesday August 18, 2020.

For many in the region this is conveniently the day before Integrate 2020 which is being held at the ICC, Sydney between August 19 – 21, 2020 (this event alternates each year between Melbourne and Sydney).

Seedooh’s Joe Copley will be chairing AdTECH: OOH – Sydney.

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