IPA statement on TfL changes to HFSS advertising

A comment by IPA Director of Legal & Public Affairs, Richard Lindsay

IPA Director of Legal & Public Affairs, Richard Lindsay has called TfL's decision to make changes 'positive' but states that the policy was 'ill thought through' in the first place.

Says Richard Lindsay, Director of Legal & Public Affairs, IPA: “TfL’s comment in Campaign today that it is wrong to suggest that there is any confusion about the implementation of their HFSS ad policy shows how out of touch they are on this issue. The Farmdrop poster ban highlighted how confusing their implementation of the policy has been and we have had agencies contacting the IPA in frustration at the interpretation of the rules by TfL, in particular about HFSS products being featured incidentally in ads.

“One example concerned a poster for a holiday ad, featuring two adults in a restaurant in France, being rejected by TfL because their table had food on it. Apparently, TfL decided that because the food included cheeses – not unusual in France - and other HFSS products, the ad was unacceptable. We seriously question how an ad like this can possibly be a risk to children?

“We did point out in our response to TfL’s consultation on their proposed policy, that the policy was likely to lead to inadvertent consequences and would “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. That TfL have realised they need to make changes is positive, but the policy was ill thought through in the first place and was never going to succeed in its objective of tackling childhood obesity.”

Last updated 21 January 2022