Donald Duck and pals in hot water

Consumer watchdog group reports accuse comic book publisher and Den Blå Planet of illegal marketing aimed at children

The consumer ombudsman Forbrugerombudsmanden has, for the first time ever, reported two companies to the police for aiming hidden advertising at children and young people.

Den Blå Planet and Egmont Publishing Kids are accused of violating the marketing act by using the front page of a 2013 Anders And (Donald Duck) comic as a marketing tool without clearly letting readers know it was advertising.

“There are strict requirements that advertising must be clearly labelled when the target audience is children and young people,” said ombudsman Christina Toftegaard Nielsen. “It is a serious matter when a magazine primarily aimed at children violates the rules.”

Nielsen was referring to the front cover of the Anders And & Co magazine, issue number 46 from 14 November 2013, which is published by Egmont Publishing Kids.

Flying sharks
The cover shows Huey, Dewey, and Louie flying through the air on top of a hammerhead shark while Donald Duck is holding the shark’s tail. Nielsen said the building shown below the characters is clearly Den Blå Planet.

The cover also contains the logo of Den Blå Planet and the text “Win with Den Blå Planet”.

“Den Blå Planet and Egmont have mixed paid and editorial content together so that it is impossible for children to see that it is an advertisement. Therefore, we have reported them to the police.”

Nielsen said the companies admitted that the cover was clearly an ad, but they believed that children also recognised it for what it was.