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Chuck E. Cheese's agrees to self-regulate kids marketing

IRVING Texas CEC Entertainment has agreed to limit how it markets its Chuck E. Cheese's family-restaurant brand to kids, joining McDonald’s and Burger King in pledging to self-regulate kid-focused advertising.

CEC took the action in response to a letter from U.S. Rep Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., who asked CEC, Yum! Brands Inc. and three other food companies to restrict their marketing to kids. Markey is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

CEC chairman and chief executive Richard M. Frank said in a letter to Markey that the company agreed to the self-regulations set forth in the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.

Frank said CEC would limit food shots in TV spots to less than 10 percent of total air time; not promote food in the voice-overs; promote physical activity and play; limit products shown in interactive games to healthy dietary choices or incorporate healthy-lifestyle messages in the game; not advertise food or beverages in elementary schools; not engage in product placement of food and beverages in external editorial and entertainment content; and reduce the use in ads of third-party licensed characters that don’t meet the initiative’s criteria for products and messages.

Yum chairman and CEO David C. Novak replied in a letter to Markey that the company primarily targets its brands — KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver’s — to adults and families, but that it would consider joining the initiative if it were to change its ad approach to children younger than 12.

McDonald’s was one of the original food companies to sign up for the initiative when it was launched in November 2006. Burger King joined last month.

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