Britain’s advertisers are being urged to stand together to stem a
tide of political correctness threatening to sweep across Europe and
destroy freedom of commercial speech.
The controversy over advertising to children is being seen as the key
battle which, if lost, will open the floodgates to restrictions on
The call to action - predicted in last week’s Campaign - comes from
Simon Bullimore, the former ISBA president, who warned last week’s
conference: ’If we lose this, we will lose our freedom to
Bullimore, the former Mars UK chief executive, made his plea against the
background of increasing threats to advertisers from both within and
Sweden wants to use its presidency of the European Union in 2001 to
extend its domestic ban on advertising to children throughout the
Greece, which already restricts toy advertising on TV, proposes to
introduce a new law controlling many aspects of commercial communication
Similar moves are afoot in Poland, while Ireland and Belgium ban
advertising during children’s programmes.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth is lobbying the UK Parliament for a ban
on the TV advertising of children’s goods before the 9pm watershed.
But Bullimore slammed what he dubbed ’butterfly activists’. He said:
’They flap their wings in different places, on different issues, at
different times for different reasons but eventually they produce the
tornado which gathers force and which will restrict our right to
Bullimore predicted curbs on children’s pester power would affect the
advertising not only of toys and confectionery but potentially all other
’What is there, besides unbranded commodities giving no choice to the
consumer, which will satisfy their requirements for children?’ he asked.
’And what will stop them extending these requirements to protect what
they see as disadvantaged adults?’