AA reacts to ’pester power’ gripe with a booklet for parents

Britain’s ad industry is counter-attacking critics who accuse it of whipping up ’pester power’ among children by offering advice to parents on how to cope with it.

Britain’s ad industry is counter-attacking critics who accuse it of

whipping up ’pester power’ among children by offering advice to parents

on how to cope with it.



With the pressures on parents from children set to intensify in the

run-up to Christmas, the Advertising Association has published a list of

’do’s and dont’s’ to help overcome demands for expensive presents.



The AA has spent pounds 20,000 to produce 23,000 copies of a booklet

which is being distributed to schools and parent-teacher associations as

well as being inserted in national magazines.



The booklet not only suggests how parents can help their children face

modern commercial pressures, but also how to complain about ads they

believe overstep the rules on exploitation.



The initiative is the AA’s response to what it has described as

’half-cock’ research by pressure groups on the links between advertising

and ’pester power’.



The issue is set to become even more contentious with indications by

Sweden that it will use its upcoming EU presidency to try to push

through a Europe-wide ban on ads directed at children.



The AA suggests parents try to watch some TV with their children and to

discuss ads and programmes with them. Parents should also explain the

purpose of ads to children and not allow themselves to be overcome by

persistent pestering.



The advice was drawn up with the help of experts on child behaviour and

from research carried out at schools in London and Exeter. It says

parents should not buy presents for children to ease their conscience

for not spending enough time with them. Nor should they necessarily

believe every ad they see.



Lionel Stanbrook, the AA’s deputy director-general, said the aim was to

talk directly to parents and alert them to the increasingly competitive

commercial world their children were facing.



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