Magazine article Marketing

Call to 'Protect the Innocent' Is Mere Pious Pap

Magazine article Marketing

Call to 'Protect the Innocent' Is Mere Pious Pap

Article excerpt

Recent consumer-led controversy over advertising confectionery to children should reassure those who espouse the domino theory of ad restrictions.

As the Government's Health of the Nation debate develops, the idea of banning all advertising to children has neared the top of the public relations agenda. Already, familiar noises can be heard about re-educating consumer affairs journalists and producers of soaps on the merits of pushing an editorial line favourable to Government policy.

It's never easy to argue that a ban on one type of advertising will lead to bans on other products deemed controversial by self-appointed consumer representatives. The difficulty with this argument stems from the fact that such a progression has not yet happened; and that some people will be satisfied with, for example, simply banning tobacco advertising.

Tobacco may be an unhealthy and unpleasant product, but it is legally produced, sold and consumed by a third of the adult population. Sweets, too, are legally produced, and consumed by nearly 100% of the infant population, and to some people they are also unhealthy and unpleasant. Ergo the proposal for a ban on advertising. Same logic. Same argument. Different product.

Pressure to restrict advertising to kids, however, is set to go European, where it may well counter less resistance than on these shores.

A conference on young consumers took place late last year in Brussels, funded by the European Commission, the Belgian Government and the Belgian Consumers' Association. …

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