Ad-ing industry’s voice to the HFSS debate

On Wednesday, the ASA issued four separate rulings regarding adverts for food & drink products across several different media. Following on from the Government’s recent Childhood Obesity Plan and the ongoing debate about HFSS advertising, there was a high level of media interest in the story.

As a result of this, the AA was invited to give the industry’s perspective on the rulings and to explain the current regulations banning the advertising of HFSS products to children. Our Chief Executive, Stephen Woodford, appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show (from 16:50 in) on Wednesday morning where he outlined the industry’s perspective and defended its position, stating that advertisers always endeavour to stay within the rules and the industry is committed to ensuring children only see appropriate adverts.

Stephen was also interviewed on Wednesday evening on BBC Radio Wales (from 2:08:20 in), to discuss the findings and the background behind them. He also appeared on Marketplace (from 4:10 in), to discuss whether companies are adapting their advertising and marketing strategies to meet the rules and what this means for them. This was aired on National Public Radio Stations across the US.

In a further HFSS update, our Communications Director, Matt Bourn’s appearance before the London Assembly’s Budget & Performance Committee on 12 July, discussing Transport for London’s finances, was featured in Wednesday’s FT. The story focused on the potential loss of revenue that could incur to TfL if there are further regulations on the advertising of HFSS products on the TfL estate. The proposal was announced by Sadiq Khan in May and is currently in consultation. During the meeting, Matt discussed the importance of advertising in general and the Out of Home sector in particular, while highlighting that the proposals could pose a threat to the organisation’s potential revenue streams. You can watch the full session again here.

AAccelerate motors ahead

Following the launch of the AAccelerate, we have also included our recently launched West Midlands pilot on the site via a series of press activities. We will soon see some out of home advertising in the region also to highlight the campaign.

Businesses in the West Midlands Combined Authority Area are encouraged to express their interest in being part of the pilot here, where we are asking businesses to apply to attend an SME pitch day(s) on 1 & 2 October. 20 businesses will be invited to pitch and a panel of judges will choose a final 10 SMEs. The SMEs will work with agencies and media owners, and receive match-funding for a bespoke, multi-channel advertising campaign. The campaign has been picked up by BBP Media and Radiocentre.

In Scotland, we are soon to announce the first five SMEs that will participate in AAccelerate Scotland. We will also be running an SME advertising workshop on 13 September in a combined CBI/Clydesdale Bank event about growing SMEs. We will be working with the CBI to undertake relevant press activity and doing our own. This event, and our presence at the SNP party conference in October, form important parts of generating the wider messaging about AAccelerate and the importance of advertising to grow SMEs.


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