The battle to safeguard the right to advertise to children will be
a major theme of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers’ annual
conference, held at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel this week.
Simon Bullimore, a former president of ISBA, will lead the resistance to
moves by the Greeks and Swedes within the European Commission to
introduce strict controls on advertising to children across Europe. In
his address, Bullimore will warn delegates that the issue is critical to
all advertisers, not just the ones in the immediate firing line such as
soft drinks, toys and confectionery manufacturers.
Bullimore said: ’The calls for restrictions are not supported by any
research at all, but by a vague feeling that children need to be
protected. If the argument is one of ethics and morality, the logic
applies across the board.’
He cited the Swedish Minister of Culture as arguing that it was ’morally
wrong to get to parents’ wallets through their children’. He added: ’If
this is wrong in the case of toys or sweets, then why not for shoes,
clothes, music or even cars? It is critical that the industry as a whole
should stand and defend these issues.’
The advertising industry is currently lobbying in both Brussels and
Westminster to prevent the bans that already exist in certain EU member
countries being extended across the continent.
Sweden, which assumes the EU presidency in 2001, has declared its intent
to use that position to introduce extensive restrictions on advertising