Food manufacturers and agency representatives were meeting this
week to discuss an accusation by the judge in the McDonald’s libel case
that the fast food chain encourages child ’pester power’ in its
The members of the Advertising Association’s food advertising committee
were called together at short notice after comments by Mr Justice Bell
that McDonald’s advertising exploited children. His remarks have already
provoked a call to the Government to review the implications of
advertising to children.
Andrew Brown, the association’s director general, said: ’We’re concerned
that the judge’s remarks shouldn’t be seen as an invitation for people
to jump on a bandwagon.’
The judge said: ’McDonald’s advertising and marketing is, in a large
part, directed at children with a view to them pestering their parents
to take them to McDonald’s and, thereby, to take their own custom to
He added that the leaflet published by environmental activists, which
was the subject of the libel action, was justified in its claim that
McDonald’s exploited children by using them, as more susceptible
subjects of advertising, to pressurise parents.
After the case the two activists, Helen Steel and David Morris, said
they would be pressing both the Advertising Standards Authority and the
Independent Television Commission to investigate McDonald’s alleged
exploiting of children.
Meanwhile, Cynog Dafis, the Welsh Nationalist MP, has tabled a House of
Commons question to Chris Smith, the National Heritage Secretary, urging
him to meet ITC representatives to consider the judge’s comments.