Advertisers with products aimed at children are bracing themselves
against the threat of new curbs in Britain and across Europe.
In the UK, lobbyists are stepping up pressure on the Independent
Television Commission to ban the transmission of ads for fatty and
sugary foods when large numbers of children are likely to be watching.
Separately, European ad industry executives are alarmed that the Greek
Government’s ban on toy advertising could spread throughout the EU and
lead to a Europe-wide ban on all advertising directed at children.
Moves towards further restrictions in Britain are being orchestrated by
the National Food Alliance, which claims that children are being
subjected to three or four times as many ads for fatty, sugary and salty
foods per hour than adults viewing in late evening.
In a new report, entitled Easy to Swallow, Hard to Stomach, the NFA
claims that seven out of ten commercials shown during children’s
programmes are for food, compared with only two out of ten during adult
The NFA also claims that of the 549 food ads it monitored, only two were
for fruit or vegetables. ‘It is clear that the ITC is either unable or
unwilling to address this imbalance,’ the report says.
Sue Dibb, the NFA’s food advertising project officer, said: ‘The foods
we should eat least are the most highly advertised, while the foods we
should eat most are the least advertised.’
The imbalance not only boosted children’s consumption of unhealthy foods
but undermined parents’ efforts to encourage healthier eating, she
The NFA wants the Government to pressure the ITC into banning ads for
fatty and sugary foods when the audience is mostly children. But the
NFA’s call has been challenged by the Advertising Association, which
says children are increasingly ad literate.