Today (July 27), the Government has announced its much-trailed measures to combat obesity. The proposals include a 9pm watershed on HFSS advertising on television and online; ending BOGOF promotions; calorie labelling; alcohol calorie labelling; expanding NHS services; front of pack nutritional labelling. The Advertising Association has issued the following statement in response.
Sue Eustace, Director of Public Affairs, Advertising Association, commented:
“We are bitterly disappointed by the announcement today by the Government that they are to press ahead with measures against advertising that are misguided, unfounded and will be totally ineffective in the fight against obesity. The Government’s very own research has shown that a 9pm watershed ban on HFSS advertising will reduce a child’s calorie intake by a miniscule 1.7 calories per day – the equivalent of half a Smartie.
“The unwarranted and unprecedented ban on online HFSS advertising is a blunt and totally disproportionate measure. It will prevent food and drink businesses large and small up and down the country from being able to advertise and market their products. It will also impact online publishers, with consequences for journalism. Given the already strict rules in place, enforced by the ASA, these new measures would be wrong even in the most favourable economic circumstances, but to impose them during the current climate is an affront to hard-working business owners and is not what would be expected of a Government seeking to create a business-friendly environment.
“These proposed bans on HFSS advertising will not solve the structural inequalities linked to deprivation that cause higher rates of obesity among people, just as attention-grabbing new regulations will not undo decades of under-investment in targeted and community-based health initiatives. Advertising has a unique ability to be part of the solution to obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles, as the recent ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ TV campaign to encourage children to eat vegetables shows. It seems the Government has ignored its own research showing how ineffective these proposals would be.”