- Advertising lobbyists are carrying out research to thwart Sweden's attempts to extend its ban on TV advertising to children across the continent.
The report, to be published next month, will aim to expose Swedish thinking as out of touch and without widespread support.
At the same time, Britain's Advertising Association is calling a conference of interested parties from all over Europe in London in November to find out if a widely-agreed set of rules could be established.
The initiatives are part of a major campaign by advertisers, media owners and agencies exclusively revealed by Campaign (5 February) to fend off Sweden's plans to crack down on children's advertising when it takes over the EU presidency in January 2001.
Plans for the so-called Children's Programme were agreed at a meeting last week between representatives of the food advertisers, TV companies and ad agencies which together fund the AA's Food Advertising Unit, as well as the World Federation of Advertisers and John Hooper, the director general of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers.
"Sweden is the only country in Europe which bans TV advertising to children," Lionel Stanbrook, the AA's deputy director general said. "Instead of Sweden setting the agenda it should be the other way round."
At present, the initiative is confined to the members of the Advertising Information Group, whose leading members are the AA and its equivalent organisations in Germany and Holland. But Stanbrook said the intention was to extend the initiative into all the major European markets.
The research, coinciding with a similar EU-funded survey, is to show that a lot of the rules governing advertising to children in many European countries are identical.
It will also attempt to prove that some of the more unusual regulations -- such as the Swedish ban and Spain's restrictions on the promotion of war toys -- are highly unusual exceptions.