Junk Food Ad Ban a 'Token and Ineffective Gesture' - ISBA

24 January 2005

The threatened EU ban on the advertising of junk foods to children [WAMN: 21-Jan-05] was received with more composure by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers than by the nation's trade press.

Media Week, for example, headlined an "angry reaction" by ISBA, reporting Friday that the trade body had "slammed" the proposal aired by European Union commissioner Markos Kypriano.

ISBA did no such thing. Its press release simply said it "had noted the commissioner's comments".

Indeed Kyprianou is slated to address the organization's Annual Conference on 8 March at which he is likely to repeat his belief that self-regulation in the food industry is the most effective way to tackle obesity. He may well also repeat that he "… would like to see the [food] industry not advertising directly to children any more".

"Anger" was conspicuous by its absence in the response to Kyprianou's comments by ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twin: "Obesity is a real issue which business takes seriously, but calls for blanket bans on advertising to children miss the point," he said.

Nor was Kyprianou "slammed" as Twinn continued: "Business wants to work closely with the {European] Commission and national governments in promoting a balanced healthy lifestyle and to encourage consumers to eat a balanced diet. As part of this process, industry has already started to consider how current advertising rules might be changed as part of wider moves to seek effective solutions."

"Industry is keen and willing to play its part, however obesity is a complex issue and banning advertising would be no more than a token - and ineffective - gesture."

No "angry reaction", nobody "slammed", just a reasoned response. Dull, huh?

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff