Kellogg has been ordered to withdraw two adverts for its LCM cereal bars by Australia’s advertising regulator for encouraging poor dietary habits.

The two ads for Kellogg LCM Original Cereal Bars formed part of an “exciting facts” promotion for the brand and were broadcast during April and May. An associated app, available for iPhone and Android, is promoted within the advertisements.

One of the adverts, entitled Snails, depicts a girl in school uniform looking at an LCM bar in her lunchbox, reading another ‘exciting fact’. She glances around at an overgrown wall, and the camera zooms down a dark nook inside the wall, where two animated snails are sleeping in a bedroom, snoring loudly. The girl’s face is seen peering in as she whispers “nighty night”. The voiceover and end frame are the same as for a similar ‘stegosaurus’ advert for the brand.

A complaint to the ad watchdog said the advertisements and app breach the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) and the AANA Food and Beverages Advertising and Marketing Communications Code. The complainant said it was directed primarily to children, didn’t represent a healthy dietary choice and didn’t promote physical activity.

Kellogg, however, said it had taken “very deliberate steps” to ensure the advertisement was aimed at main grocery buyers and not children less than 12 years of age.

It said: “In addition, the LCM’s bars are depicted in the closing frames next to a packed lunchbox, which is also indicative that this advertisement is aimed at those persons responsible for preparing school lunches. For those reasons, the complaint should be dismissed in its entirety.”

The watchdog, however, said the advert had breached the advertising messaging requirements of the RCMI and upheld the case.

Last month, Kellogg pulled a TV ad in Australia for Coco Pops after it was found to have broken industry guidelines on marketing to children under the age of 12.