Judge raps McDonald’s over use of ’pester power’ in advertising

Food manufacturers and agency representatives were meeting this week to discuss an accusation by the judge in the McDonald’s libel case that the fast food chain encourages child ’pester power’ in its advertising.

Food manufacturers and agency representatives were meeting this

week to discuss an accusation by the judge in the McDonald’s libel case

that the fast food chain encourages child ’pester power’ in its

advertising.



The members of the Advertising Association’s food advertising committee

were called together at short notice after comments by Mr Justice Bell

that McDonald’s advertising exploited children. His remarks have already

provoked a call to the Government to review the implications of

advertising to children.



Andrew Brown, the association’s director general, said: ’We’re concerned

that the judge’s remarks shouldn’t be seen as an invitation for people

to jump on a bandwagon.’



The judge said: ’McDonald’s advertising and marketing is, in a large

part, directed at children with a view to them pestering their parents

to take them to McDonald’s and, thereby, to take their own custom to

McDonald’s.’



He added that the leaflet published by environmental activists, which

was the subject of the libel action, was justified in its claim that

McDonald’s exploited children by using them, as more susceptible

subjects of advertising, to pressurise parents.



After the case the two activists, Helen Steel and David Morris, said

they would be pressing both the Advertising Standards Authority and the

Independent Television Commission to investigate McDonald’s alleged

exploiting of children.



Meanwhile, Cynog Dafis, the Welsh Nationalist MP, has tabled a House of

Commons question to Chris Smith, the National Heritage Secretary, urging

him to meet ITC representatives to consider the judge’s comments.



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