NEWS: AA’s staff reshuffle shows its desire to keep Labour sweet

The Advertising Association is reshuffling its front line as it gears up for the possibility of a Labour government.

The Advertising Association is reshuffling its front line as it gears up

for the possibility of a Labour government.



The key change involves Jonathan Bullock, whose promotion from head of

external affairs to head of public affairs comes with a brief to build

and nurture links with Labour politicians.



The AA’s growing preoccupation with Labour was evident at the party’s

conference last month, where an AA reception for MPs was hosted by Lord

Hollick, the Labour peer and chief executive of United News and Media.



The AA wants to ensure Labour makes no attempt to dismantle

advertising’s self-regulatory system. AA executives have been fearful

that Labour might use recent public criticism of the system as an excuse

for statutory controls.



The AA’s message will be that the system will always upset people who

fall foul of it, but it is better than an imposed alternative.



Meanwhile, AA executives are indicating that they would not object if

Labour chose to sharpen the teeth of the Advertising Standards Authority

by giving it the power to fine offenders.



The AA will continue pressing its case with Labour against any ban on

advertising snacks and confectionery to children. It will cite recent

events, such as Carlsberg-Tetley’s withdrawal of its controversial

alcopop, Thickhead, as evidence that advertisers are prepared to act

responsibly.



But the AA and Labour remain poles apart on the vexed question of

tobacco promotion. Labour is committed to an above-the-line ad ban but

the AA is confident it can persuade the party not to extend controls on

tobacco sponsorship or curb tobacco companies targeting regular smokers

via direct mail.



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