Following significant coverage this week in London media on the Mayor’s plans to ban HFSS advertising across the TfL estate, our Chief Executive Stephen Woodford has released a statement which puts forward a counter-argument to Sadiq Khan’s narrative. This was quoted in a piece by the Evening Standard on the topic. 

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association commented:

“There is no clear evidence that this ban will have any positive effect and there are far better ways to achieve its aims. We already have among the strictest rules in the world covering the exposure of under 16s to HFSS advertising and estimates of the proportion of children that use the London Underground to go to and from school range from 1-3% of all travellers. So not only will this measure be ineffective, it will also prevent the far higher number of adult travellers from being able to see adverts for everyday products that they might use or buy – like butter and cheese.

“The ban will also reduce TfL’s income from advertising with the potential of putting increased pressure on these same adult commuters through higher fares. Also the restrictions will be a burden for businesses, especially the SMEs who are the backbone of the economy and often rely on advertising to generate consumer purchases, but who may not have the resources to apply for a product exemption.

“While the Mayor’s office has recently begun consultation with industry on the policy, there are issues ahead, particularly around what products might be exempt. Given this, it is hard to see how the policy can feasibly be introduced by the February implementation date. Nonetheless, we remain ready to work together in a constructive way and using the advertising industry’s expertise to help improve the health and wellbeing of London’s children.”