Co-op sparks conflict with ISBA over TV ads

The Co-op’s future membership of ISBA, the advertisers’ trade body, is in question after its declaration of war on the TV advertising of ’unhealthy’ foods to children.

The Co-op’s future membership of ISBA, the advertisers’ trade body,

is in question after its declaration of war on the TV advertising of

’unhealthy’ foods to children.



The retailer’s action flies in the face of ISBA policy and John Hooper,

ISBA’s director-general, said: ’The Co-op must now consider whether its

membership of ISBA is still valid.’



The Co-op, which has 1,100 stores across the country, this week

committed itself to a voluntary ban on advertising food and drink

products high in fat, sugar or salt during children’s programmes.



It has also called on the Independent Television Commission to outlaw

the practice and has pledged to use its own TV advertising to promote

healthy diets to children.



The initiative has shocked ISBA, which regards it as a serious breaking

of ranks, and it is due to be discussed by its council.



Meanwhile, Hooper, who condemned the Co-op’s action as an ’empty

gesture’, said he would be having talks with ISBA members, including

confectionery, soft drink and cereal manufacturers, which supply its

stores.



Hooper added that he was reluctant to expel the Co-op for fear of

providing it with ’a PR gift’. However, he criticised the company for

what he claimed was the ill-advised way it had lashed out at its

suppliers.



Lionel Stanbrook, the deputy director-general of the Advertising

Association, which has been co-ordinating the industry’s fight against

extra restrictions on advertising to children, said: ’If the Co-op

really means what it says, it should take these products off its

shelves.’



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