Demands for a ban on some food ads aimed at children were rejected as
unnecessary by the Advertising Association during a debate in the House
The AA’s head of external affairs, Jonathan Bullock, accused the
National Food Alliance, the pressure group he was sharing a platform
with, of ‘hijacking a national debate’. The NFA has called for a ban on
advertising fatty and sugary foods aimed at children.
Bullock last week told a private meeting of the Parliamentary Food and
Health Forum’s discussion group: ‘Public policy and debate must be based
on a proper understanding of the role of advertising, not upon
He said that ads aimed at children were predominantly brand promotions
and did not influence the consumption of food, drinks or toys. Bullock
argued that they stimulated new ideas, choices and requests but did not
provoke parent-child conflict, as critics had claimed.
‘The overall benefits of advertising hold good for products and services
bought for, and by, children,’ he said. ‘Restrictions and bans
would damage children’s TV programming.’
But Joan Lestor, a member of the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet,
expressed sympathy for the view that food ads must have an impact on
Meanwhile, Dr Mike Rayner of Oxford University’s Department of Public
Health and Primary Care, who is chairman of the NFA’s food advertising
working party, said tougher curbs were needed. He welcomed the
Independent Television Commission’s decision to tighten up its code on
food ads, but said he was disappointed that the Advertising Standards
Authority had not followed suit.