Avoid trial by TV, Howell warns IPA

Rupert Howell, the president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, has attacked members’ contributions to a BBC2 documentary as ’almost beyond belief’.

Rupert Howell, the president of the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising, has attacked members’ contributions to a BBC2 documentary

as ’almost beyond belief’.



In a stinging letter sent to IPA council members and agency chief

executives, Howell points the finger at Saatchi & Saatchi’s marketing

director, Stephen Colegrave, who contributed to the programme called

Getting Older Younger.



Howell wrote: ’The comments ... will have damaged our case to protect

our freedom to advertise to children. At the very least, could I ask you

to let the IPA know if you are going to take part in such a programme,

because we have detailed briefing documents available to you.’



Both Colegrave and Peter Mead, the chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

(which refuses to take on toy clients), made contributions to the

documentary.



Colegrave is quoted saying: ’The great thing is that if you go into

primary schools they are open to commercialism.’ Mead’s contribution

included the words: ’The great thing about kids is that their memory

banks are relatively empty so any message that goes in gets

retained.’



Howell concedes in his letter that the industry was always going to come

off badly because ’the programme makers successfully muddled advertising

to children with cause-related marketing and the worst in violent video

games, and the internet’.



The documentary shows interviews with representatives from the marketing

and advertising industries in between scenes from children’s focus

groups and extracts from video games.



Howell said: ’I believe that 99 per cent of agencies have a responsible

attitude towards advertising to children but this does not come across

in the documentary.



’People can do what they like but it is important to remind the industry

that there are times when collective interests are at stake.’