Govt and AA unveil £200m obesity offensive

Food and drink manufacturers, retailers, media owners and agencies are coming together in a £200 million effort to tackle Britain's alarming obesity levels.

Gordon Brown has endorsed the four-year plan. It will be backed by an estimated £200 million in donated space and creative input from across the marketing communications industry.

PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestle and Sky are among the groups supporting the effort.

The Advertising Association will co-ordinate the campaign. Baroness Peta Buscombe, the AA's chief executive, spent almost a year getting ministers and major advertisers on board. "The industry has been brilliant at selling others' products but not at selling itself," Buscombe said. "This is the perfect way to demonstrate the popularity of advertising."

The industry's as yet unnamed effort is scheduled to start early next year, and will include above-, below- and online activity and in-store and on-pack promotions. Its symbol will be a logo whose use will be policed to protect it from abuse.

A small AA team of marketing professionals will oversee the campaign, and will decide whether to appoint an agency roster to produce the work or put together a "dream team" drawn from the industry.