CAP cracks down on non-broadcast food ads

LONDON - Britain's ad industry is under attack from pressure groups, despite tightening rules on the promotion of snack foods and soft drinks to children.

Health lobbyists claim the new restrictions on press and poster advertising amount to no more than "tweaking", and will do nothing to reduce childhood obesity.

Jane Landon, the deputy chief executive of the National Heart Forum, accused the Committee of Advertising Practice of failing to address the frequency and volume of food and drink to children, describing its performance as "extremely disappointing".

The rules are intended to stop snack food and soft-drink makers side-stepping Ofcom's new restrictions on TV advertising to children by switching to non-broadcast media.

The loophole will be plugged with new restrictions, which bring the rules covering food and drink promotion to children in non-broadcast media more closely in line with those imposed by Ofcom for TV.

Insiders do admit, though, the new rules are "a bit of a fudge" forced on the industry to appease the public health minister, Caroline Flint.

Alan James, the chief executive of the Outdoor Advertising Association and a CAP member, said: "The new code merely formalises what we've been doing for a long time."