ISBA Conference: Bullimore rallies against restrictions

Britain’s advertisers are being urged to stand together to stem a tide of political correctness threatening to sweep across Europe and destroy freedom of commercial speech.

Britain’s advertisers are being urged to stand together to stem a

tide of political correctness threatening to sweep across Europe and

destroy freedom of commercial speech.



The controversy over advertising to children is being seen as the key

battle which, if lost, will open the floodgates to restrictions on

advertisers.



The call to action - predicted in last week’s Campaign - comes from

Simon Bullimore, the former ISBA president, who warned last week’s

conference: ’If we lose this, we will lose our freedom to

advertise.’



Bullimore, the former Mars UK chief executive, made his plea against the

background of increasing threats to advertisers from both within and

beyond Britain.



Sweden wants to use its presidency of the European Union in 2001 to

extend its domestic ban on advertising to children throughout the

European Community.



Greece, which already restricts toy advertising on TV, proposes to

introduce a new law controlling many aspects of commercial communication

to children.



Similar moves are afoot in Poland, while Ireland and Belgium ban

advertising during children’s programmes.



Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth is lobbying the UK Parliament for a ban

on the TV advertising of children’s goods before the 9pm watershed.



But Bullimore slammed what he dubbed ’butterfly activists’. He said:

’They flap their wings in different places, on different issues, at

different times for different reasons but eventually they produce the

tornado which gathers force and which will restrict our right to

advertise.’



Bullimore predicted curbs on children’s pester power would affect the

advertising not only of toys and confectionery but potentially all other

goods.



’What is there, besides unbranded commodities giving no choice to the

consumer, which will satisfy their requirements for children?’ he asked.

’And what will stop them extending these requirements to protect what

they see as disadvantaged adults?’



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