Spain slimming and beauty ads face TV watershed

19 January 2010

MADRID: Spain is to introduce new restrictions on TV ads that encourage "the cult of the body" and cause low self-esteem among young people.

Spots for plastic surgery and products including slimming pills will be banned from being broadcast before 10pm, if a new law is passed by parliament.

Generally, the restrictions are to apply to ads that link success in life to looks.

"Broadcasters cannot carry advertisements for things that encourage the cult of the body and have a negative impact on self-image [and] which are based on ideas of social rejection as a result of one's physical image," it states.

It is hoped that the adoption of the law will reduce rates of eating disorders such as anorexia among young girls.

However, more radical plans to extend the TV ban to promotions for low-fat foods have been thrown out by legislators.

The legislation is also facing criticism for not including a watershed time for alcohol ads.

Alejandro Perales, the head of the Association of Media Consumers, said: "It makes no sense that slimming products have been banned when alcohol, which is for adults, has not."

Meanwhile, José Luis Colás, president of the Television and Radio Consumers group, cast doubt on the enforceability of the law.

"The intentions are great but without sanctions they will be useless," he said.

In 2008, the beauty and hygeine sector was the third-largest in Spain in terms of TV adspend.

Firms spent around €500m ($719m, £441m) on spots over the 12-month period.

The broadcasting law has already been approved by the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish legislature, and is currently under review by the Senate.

Data sourced from The Guardian; additional content by Warc staff