Kellogg has 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.

The Advertising Standards Board, Australia’s advertising watchdog, upheld a complaint from campaign group The Obesity Policy Coalition.

The OPC said the ad broke the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, a scheme developed by the industry that pledges not to advertise its products to children under 12 years old.

The ad featured individual Coco Pops swimming in a bowl of milk and playing a game of Marco Polo. The Coco Pops were given children’s voices.

The OPC made a series of complaints against the ad, including that it was “directed primarily at children”.

Kellogg argued the ad was not directed to children. In its submission to the board, it wrote: “Rather, such imagery is used to prompt nostalgic recollections of main grocery buyers regarding the ‘fun’ times they may have experienced during their own childhood. In turn, the theme of ‘fun’ is used to convey to main grocery buyers that Coco Pops is a ‘fun’ food which may be enjoyed from time to time as part of a balanced diet.”

The Advertising Standards Board disagreed. “The primary focus of the advertisement would be to attract children because of the focus on the young boy eating the cereal and the game being played in the milk. The Board noted that the focus of the advertisement is predominantly on the Coco Pops in the milk pool. The Board also noted that the voices used for the Coco Pops, which dominate the advertisement, are childlike and use language that would be commonly used by children. On balance, the Board considered that this advertisement was clearly directed primarily to children under 12.”