The IPA has expressed its concern regarding speculation that the Government may include a pre-9pm watershed ban on the advertising of high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food and drink products as part of its strategy to combat obesity (to be announced on Monday).
Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA:
"The restrictions on the advertising of HFSS products that Government may soon be imposing would contradict its own evidence of their likely, minimal, impact on obesity levels. Put simply, the ban will have no effect on childhood obesity. They would also be at odds with the support the Government has provided to businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. Covid-19 has already dealt a significant blow to many businesses, and advertising restrictions would compound these pressures at the very time when the economy needs to regenerate. Given the current economic climate, imposing restrictions on the very industry that helps promote economic activity is surely counter-intuitive, particularly when those restrictions will not achieve their intended aim."
The IPA has outlined these concerns in more detail in a letter sent to the Prime Minister earlier this week (21 July), in which it stated:
In closing Paul Bainsfair said, "We hope, of course, that agencies do not see such a drastic decline in business and headcount as is predicted, but such an outcome only seems more likely if advertising bans are introduced at the very time we would hope to see a revival across our sector."
The advertising industry has shown it can play a valuable, constructive role in encouraging behaviour changes that will improve public health. We ask that this is recognised and that ineffective policies, however well-meant, and which would have a devastating effect on an already fragile advertising industry, are not introduced.
The IPA is working with the Advertising Association and fellow trade bodies and will issue further comment once it has seen the full details of the Government’s Obesity Strategy to be announced on Monday (27 July 2020).
The IPA has also joined other leaders from around the ad industry in writing a further open letter to the Prime Minister outlining their concerns regarding this potential regulation.Read the industry open letter