Welcome to our SuperAwesome Ad Standards
SuperAwesome’s core mission is to make the internet safer for the next generation. We aim to ensure that we only serve Ads and provide advertising services that support this mission and provide a safe and positive experience for audiences and publishers alike.
We have developed these SuperAwesome Ad Standards to provide guidance on the types of Ads we accept. By Ads we mean all types of paid promotional campaigns including digital display, video and interactive; social video; influencer marketing; and in-game activations and integrations.
Whilst we strive to maintain the SuperAwesome Ad Standards in compliance with advertising regulations in the US and UK, they are not intended as legal advice. Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that Ads comply with all laws, regulations and industry standards in each location in which their Ads will be seen – including those specifically designed to protect children and teens.
All display and video Ads served by us through our AwesomeAds Marketplace carry our SAFE AD watermark, which tells users and their parents that the Ads have been human-reviewed against these SuperAwesome Ad Standards, and that they are served on a contextual basis only (no behavioral targeting, tracking cookies or user profiling), consistent with the requirements of COPPA and GDPR-K.
Our SuperAwesome Ad Standards are organized into two sections:
- Product and Service Standards – information about the categories of products and services for which we do not accept Ads.
- Content Standards – guidance to ensure that the content of Ad creatives is age-appropriate and in line with SuperAwesome’s core mission.
Product and Service Standards
Our AwesomeAds Marketplace and advertising services are designed for brands and publishers seeking to engage with an under-16 audience*, meaning we do not accept advertising for products and services which we consider to be inappropriate for this audience, and we restrict the way some products and services can be advertised to this audience.
These restrictions are detailed by category as follows:
- Adult product, services and entertainment
- Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and unsafe substances
- Cosmetics and Personal Care
- Dangerous products, services and activities
- Entertainment-related restrictions
- Financial products and services
- Food and drink restrictions
- Gambling and related activities
- Illegal or unethical products and services
- Inappropriate or insensitive products and services
- Subscription services
- Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, supplements and health
- Politics, religion and spirituality
*The SuperAwesome Ad Standards apply to SuperAwesome’s under-16s services only. They do not apply to activations, and associated advertising, on platforms where most of the audience is 16+.
Adult products, services and entertainment
Ads must not promote mature or sexual products, services and/or entertainment, including contraceptive and reproductive health products and services.
This also extends to dating or relationship products and/or services.
Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and unsafe substances
Ads must not promote alcoholic beverages (including drinks marketed as alcohol-free alternatives or marketed as mixers for alcoholic drinks), tobacco products, nicotine products and related smoking paraphernalia (including e-cigarettes, vaping or any other products that imitate or are perceived as an alternative to smoking), recreational drugs (including cannabis), or any unsafe substances.
This prohibition also extends to substance abuse, treatment or recovery products or services.
Cosmetics and Personal Care
Ads aimed at under-13s must not promote cosmetics, personal care or other products and services focused on enhancing external appearance. Ads for surgical and non-surgical cosmetic interventions and Ads related to body procedures and modifications (such as piercings and tattoos) are prohibited.
Ads for cosmetics, personal care and other similar products must target the age demographic permitted by any labeling disclosures on the product and must not mislead consumers as to the benefit of using such products or services.
Dangerous products, services and activities
Ads must not promote products, services or activities which are age restricted and/or dangerous for under-16s, or that generally require adult supervision, such as fireworks, flammables, weapons and ammunition (including paintballs), knives and similar bladed or sharp products.
This includes Ads that promote real-world violence, and some Ads that promote extreme contact sports such as boxing.
Ads for movies, TV shows, video games and other similar media and entertainment services must target the age demographic aligned to their rating, which must be disclosed to SuperAwesome on submission. For example, PG-13 rated movies or video games carrying the ESRB’s Teen rating may only be targeted at the Young Teen (13-16) or older audience.
We do not accept Ads for movies with ratings higher than PG-13 (MPAA)/12 (BBFC), or video games with higher than a Teen (ESRB) rating (or the equivalent under other ratings systems).
Financial products and services
With the exception of financial products and services intended specifically for children (such as kids’ prepaid debit cards), Ads must not promote financial products and services that are not meant for them, such as loans, credit cards or insurance services.
This extends to financial trading and the promotion of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and related exchanges.
Food and drink restrictions
SuperAwesome supports healthy and responsible eating practices. Advertisers remain responsible for ensuring that their Ads comply with all local laws, regulations, and standards concerning the advertising of food and drinks to children for any location their Ads target.
In addition, SuperAwesome upholds the following standards:
- In all territories*: We do not accept Ads for food or drink products directed at those under the age of 6. We apply any specific policies operated by third-party platforms on which we serve Ads (such as YouTube) in both letter and spirit. We do not accept Ads for candy or confectionery products.
- United Kingdom: We do not accept Ads for food or drink products that are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) – or for brands which are considered synonymous with HFSS – currently as classified by the Department of Health’s Nutrient Profiling Model. We may, at our discretion, make exceptions for public service announcements which feature HFSS purely to educate people about healthy eating and healthy diet choices.
- United States: For u13s, we do not accept Ads for food or drink products that are not CFBAI-listed or that do not meet the CFBAI’s Uniform Nutrition Criteria. For 13+, we only work with brands that have a track record of responsibility when advertising to young audiences.
- Europe: For u13s, we do not accept Ads for food or drink products that do not meet the EU Pledge Nutrition Criteria. For 13+, we only work with brands that have a track record of responsibility when advertising to young audiences.
- Ads on YouTube, including influencer marketing: In line with YouTube’s policies, we do not accept any Ads for food and drink products which are aimed at users under the age of 13, regardless of nutritional content.
- Caffeine and Energy drinks: We do not accept Ads for coffee-based drinks or for coffee shops, nor for energy drinks that contain caffeine.
*Where Ads are served on platforms which are inherently global in nature with no ability to geo-target, please speak to your sales representative for further information as SuperAwesome may apply higher standards than those applicable in the primary target territory.
Gambling and related activities
Ads must not promote gambling, lotteries or betting (whether online or in real-life), including sports betting, fantasy sports, games of luck or chance or any other games where there is a chance to win a prize of valuable gain, or activities that simulate gambling (regardless of whether money or money’s worth can be won).
Illegal or unethical products and services
Ads must not promote illegal products, services or activities, such as counterfeit goods, realistic replicas of illegal products (such as guns or weapons), or products and services which facilitate dishonesty such as fake IDs.
Inappropriate or insensitive products and services
Ads must not promote any other products and services that are inappropriate for this age group, or which otherwise may cause upset or distress to young audiences, such as those which relate to death (e.g. funeral homes), or military activity (such as ROTC recruitment).
Ads must not promote subscription services for products and services which are not specifically intended for children, such as mobile subscription services, which are subject to recurring or auto-renew payments which children may find difficult to fully understand.
Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, supplements and health
Ads must not promote pharmaceuticals or medications, medical devices, vitamins, nutritional or health supplements, or products and services related to health care and medical issues, such as weight loss, slimming products and acupuncture.
Politics, religion and spirituality
Ads must not promote political, cause-related, religious or spiritual (such as psychics and mediums) activity or agendas.
The safety of the next generation sits at the heart of SuperAwesome’s advertising standards. Extra care must be taken when targeting Ads to under-16s, as they may lack the experience to enable them to understand and process commercial messages in the same way as adults. They may also be more sensitive to inappropriate or offensive imagery, so it is important to consider the likely effect the image or language used might have on under-16s.
Compliance with each of the Content Standards must be considered with the age of the intended audience in mind, taking into account their experience and cognitive abilities.
In summary, Ad content must not be unsafe or inappropriate, or exploit, mislead, or exert undue pressure on children. All Ads must:
SuperAwesome’s overarching content standard is that Ads must be wholly appropriate for users under the age of 16, or another younger age demographic to which the Ad is targeted. SuperAwesome will take the intended audience for the campaign into consideration when reviewing Ads against these SuperAwesome Ad Standards.
For example, a toy that is intended for 10-year olds will not be suitable for advertising to children below this age. Equally an Ad for a toy that is marketed to 10+ should not particularly appeal to children below this age, for example through the use of cartoon characters from toddler TV shows.
Generally, Ads must not contain:
- Adult, violent, gruesome or graphic themes or content, or content which is likely to scare younger audiences, such as fearsome images, loud sudden noises intended to shock, or blood and gore.
- Swear words, foul language, sexualised imagery or sexually suggestive content, vulgar humor or content which is profane or offensive.
- Shocking, sensational or potentially distressing content, or content that could incite fear or panic, for example content that references death and natural disasters.
Ads must not contain content which indirectly promotes, contains or in any way references any of the prohibited products and services outlined in the Product and Services Standards, or in any way encourages anything unlawful. For example, Ads must not include imagery of alcohol in the background, encourage an under-16 to buy something age restricted like lottery tickets or cigarettes, or the taking of illegal substances.
Be Clear and Honest
It’s vital that the next generation is able to trust Ads. Ads must be clear and must not mislead or deceive – which must be assessed through the eyes of an under-16. This means that:
- All Ads must be truthful and accurate, and must not be deceptive or misleading.
- Ads must not exaggerate a product’s benefit or set unrealistic expectations. They may highlight the positive aspects of a product, but Ads should not suggest that a young person might be unpopular, inferior, disloyal or lacking in courage by not owning it.
- With respect to Promotions, Ads must not mislead the entrants, exaggerate the value of a prize or the chances of winning it or cause the entrants’ undue disappointment.
- Ads must not exploit an under-16’s credulity, loyalty, vulnerability, lack of experience, or susceptibility to commercial pressure. For example, Ads must not exploit an under-16’s reduced ability to distinguish between the real and fantastical. For example – an image suggesting a toy emits real laser beams.
- It must be easy for an under-16 to judge the size, characteristics and performance of the product. For example, it should be clear from the Ad exactly what is included with the initial purchase.
- Any endorsements must be genuine and reflect real experiences and beliefs of the endorser. Any claims made within an endorsement must be capable of being substantiated.
- Extra care must be taken to ensure that children recognize that they’re seeing or otherwise engaging with an Ad. All our Ads – including influencer videos and in-game activations – must be clearly labeled as advertising. For more guidance on disclosure best practices, see our e-book on Making Appropriate Advertising Disclosures to Kids (under 13) and Young Teens (under 16).
Keep Kids and Teens Safe
Ads should not depict, encourage, nor refer to anything which could result in an under-16’s physical or mental harm.
- Telling a child that buying a toy, playing a game or interacting with certain social media content will make them more popular exploits their emotions, which is mentally harmful.
- Depicting a popular child-related influencer or ambassador who is physically inactive or eating large amounts of food is an encouragement of unhealthy behavior that could harm their physical health.
- Inviting an under-16 to enter a competition without appropriate disclosure, or—where required—parental guidance, could be exploiting their naivety, which could result in them sharing information without understanding why.
- Telling an under-16 that playing a game will result in a donation to a charity may exploit their susceptibility to charitable appeals if limits and parameters are not made clear.
Given the risk of emulation, Ads should not condone or encourage—or show young people participating in—irresponsible or dangerous practices or in hazardous situations.
For example, young people should not be shown:
- Entering strange places.
- Talking to strangers.
- Close to, or handling, firearms, weapons or other dangerous items.
- In situations which may contravene established child safety best practices (such as children in vehicles without their seat belts fastened, cycling without helmets or performing dangerous stunts that would only be appropriate for a professional).
- Without adult supervision in places or situations where they cannot safely look after themselves (such as swimming pools, crossing busy roads or around dangerous equipment).
Ads should never include young people showing any nudity, and should avoid hypersexualisation or suggestive poses or content, for example when promoting apparel or accessories.
Be Respectful and Inclusive
SuperAwesome serves Ads to under-16s of all races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, religions and sexual orientations across the world. We want to ensure under-16s feel safe, welcomed and empowered to be themselves, so Ads must in ALL respects be socially responsible, respectful and inclusive.
- Ads should encourage positive behavior such as being honest, respectful, careful and engaging in a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.
- Ads must not discriminate based on race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, family status or disability. We encourage the use of diverse imagery and appeal within your Ads.
- Ads must not otherwise promote hatred or intolerance, or include content that encourages or depicts intimidation or bullying.
- Ads must not undermine body positivity, or cause under-16s to feel negative about how they look. Imagery must not reinforce stereotypical ideals of what “perfect” looks like, or suggest that body image has any part to play in popularity, desirability or happiness.
Ads must not only be respectful towards under-16s, but also towards their parents or legal guardians. For example:
- Ads must not actively encourage under-16s to make a nuisance of themselves to parents/legal guardians, or undermine parental authority. For example, ‘playing [product] is more important than doing your homework’.
- Ads must not belittle or undermine parental choices for healthy food/beverages or meals by suggesting a certain food/beverage is better than the one the parent has provided. For example, depicting a healthy meal as less cool than another food.
- Ads must not urge or make a direct appeal to an under-16 to buy a product, or encourage the child to pester parents or other adults to buy it for them. ‘Buy now!’ buttons and similar calls-to-action that incite a direct buying action are not permitted.
A Note about Links, Landing Pages and Promotions…
Links and Landing Pages
Under-16s should feel equally as safe when clicking on an Ad as when viewing it. Ads may include links provided that they comply with the following standards:
- Any landing page should be broadly in line with these Content Standards, and should be consistent with the description of the landing page in your Ad. For example, a “Find out more here” link should direct the child to a page where that child can genuinely find out more about the product/offer.
- The link should not be to a site or social media channel or platform that is inappropriate for the intended audience of your Ad. For example, Ads targeted at users under the age of 13 should not direct them to social media platforms whose terms specify that it is for users aged 13+ only.
- Ads should not generally link to retail pages, as most retailers specify in their terms that their sites are for users aged 16/18+. Where including this type of link is unavoidable, please speak to your sales representative about the inclusion of SuperAwesome’s bumper page.
- The landing page should not contain any targeting cookies, pixels or other trackers if these are not legally permissible to be deployed with respect to the intended audience of your Ad.
- Where the link is intended to send you to terms and conditions (e.g. for a Promotion, the link must send the individual directly to the applicable terms and conditions.)
Ads featuring promotions (e.g. competitions, sweepstakes, contests, promotional codes, etc.) to younger audiences have to be handled especially carefully and with a due sense of responsibility.
As well as complying with the general and specific promotional laws, regulations and rules applicable to Promotions in any location in which the Promotion is to be made available:
- Ads should clearly disclose the likelihood of winning (e.g. ‘many will enter, few will win’, as children may have unrealistic expectations about the chances of winning a sweepstakes or contest.)
- Prizes and other promotional items must be suitable for the intended audience addressed.
- Promotions must make clear that adult permission is required if a prize or an incentive might cause conflict between a parent’s/legal guardian’s desire and their child’s desire, for example, pets, bicycles, tickets for outings, concerts and holidays.
- Ads must include a clear statement if adult permission is necessary to participate in any offer.
- We do not generally accept Ads for promotions that require a purchase to participate.
The legal bit…
Whilst we strive to maintain the SuperAwesome Ad Standards in compliance with advertising regulations in the US and UK, they are not intended as legal advice. Compliance with the SuperAwesome Ad Standards does not ensure that the advertising or medium for delivery is legally compliant. We encourage you to consult with your legal advisor if you have questions about the laws and regulations concerning your Ads.
SuperAwesome never stops in its pursuit to make the internet safer for the next generation, meaning we will review these policies regularly as we respond to changes in laws and regulations, societal tolerances, product innovation, or as SuperAwesome’s own philosophy and research evolves. SuperAwesome may change these policies at any time without notice, so please take a moment to check these before each campaign.
SuperAwesome will apply the SuperAwesome Ad Standards in letter and spirit. We reserve the right to reject, remove or request modifications to an Ad (even after it may have been reviewed and/or approved) which, in our sole discretion, we consider to be harmful to our business or reputation, or to the business or reputation of SuperAwesome’s publisher partners, their end-users or which might otherwise harm the overall advertising ecosystem.
The SuperAwesome Ad Standards apply to SuperAwesome’s under-16s services only.
To learn more about advertising, data privacy and the safety standards required to interact responsibly with kids and teens online, visit KidAware.com. Our KidAware training program is available to individuals, agencies, brands and publishers around the world.
Last updated: [28 June 2023]