17 November 2006

Junk food advertising

It was announced today that Ofcom (the regulator of the communication companies) has announced measure to prevent the screening of junk food advertisements during times when children would most likely be watching. Specifically, these are:
  • All pre-school children's programmes
  • All programmes on mainstream channels aimed at children
  • All cable and satellite children's channels
  • Programmes aimed at young people, such as music shows
  • General entertainment programmes which would appeal to a "higher than average" number of under-16s.
Like my comments about increasing the duty on alcopops, this will not make any difference. Kids will still want their Big Mucks when they are out with their parents on a Saturday afternoon, gaudiness of the "restaurants" are designed to attract the impressionable mind. Likewise, crisps and soft drinks are still going to be consumed at school break times, they are convenience foods and kids are too keen to be doing other things than eating.

In moderation, all these foods are fine and it is better that the message is spread by the junk food companies that moderation and exercise are necessary. An example junk food ad might be:

At the moment, there is no incentive for the companies to clean up their message. Ofcom had the opportunity to make a difference, but instead took the easy way out by the blanket banning. Government agencies, policy makers, etc have to realise that people will continue to do those things that are bad for them. Telling them not to do something is a sure enough way of making people want to do it. Be realistic and educate people, its the best option for improvement.

While Ofcom are at it, could they create an index for how moronic advertisements are? An advertisement with a high index rating (for example the Phones4U campaign) should be automatically banned, the video tapes destroyed by incineration and the person that thought of it sterilised to prevent them from infecting the gene pool any further.

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