Between the Lines: Brown goes gunning for ads

In attacking "aggressive" advertising aimed at children, Gordon Brown, the prime minister-in-waiting, slips into crude vote-grabbing mode (page 3).

No politician ever fell out with electors by condemning advertising's black arts. And nobody would disagree with Brown that advertising should not expose children to violence, drugs and sex. But where is his evidence this is happening? Complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in recent years about ads said to have sexualised children can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The Blair administration has always been schizophrenic about advertising. In one breath, it hails the importance of its creative potency to the UK economy. In the next, it rounds on the industry for its malevolence. Brown shows no sign of ending such ambivalence.


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