Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Brands on the Fringe

Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Brands on the Fringe

Article excerpt

The Labour Party Conference spawned a host of marketing-related events. Gemma Charles reports.

Gordon Brown's 'make-or-break' speech, which was swiftly followed by transport secretary Ruth Kelly's resignation, was the most notable event of the past week's Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Nonetheless, away from the main hall, fringe sessions buzzed with debate about marketing, communication and corporate responsibility. Below, we outline the main issues covered.

Advertising's effect on children The Prime Minister's only mention of advertising in his main speech to the conference was negative. He sought to reassure the nation that he understood the fears of modern life by saying: 'There are new pressures on parents - worrying about balancing work and family life, but also about advertising aimed straight at their children.'

However, there seems to be a consensus forming across Whitehall over the banning of alcohol ads before 9pm, in the marketing industry's favour Culture secretary Andy Burnham is not convinced by the arguments made by Alcohol Concern and others that the ad ban is necessary to protect children. He told Marketing: 'Some people forget that it isn't the same as when they were growing up. These days children get messages from lots of places, not just TV.'

Retail

Asda and the Co-op were out in force showing the positive face of retailing.Asda's corporate affairs director, Paul Kelly, used a series of sessions to position the company as a champion of deprived communities and smooth the way for its expansion in the South East.

At a Co-op-sponsored event on responsible retailing, meanwhile, Labour peer Lord Whitty criticised Marks & Spencer for refusing to remove confectionery from its check-out area.

Supermarkets, however, received support from consumer affairs minister Gareth Thomas. When a questioner from the floor decried grocers' use of alcohol as a loss-leader, he sprang to their defence. 'We shouldn't stop them competing on price, even on alcohol,' he said. 'We have to allow competition.'

Byron Review

The review, by Dr Tanya Byron, the TV presenter and psychologist, looked at the risks to children from exposure to harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. It was referenced in several sessions.

During a T-Mobile and NSPCC event entitled 'Protecting children in a digital age,' the mobile operator's chief executive, Jim Hyde, advocated a system of self-regulation as the best way to achieve this aim. …

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