Mayor of London’s ‘Unhealthy’ Food Ad Ban

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

You woud have figured that the Mayor of London had better things to do with his time at the moment but last week he found time to “tackle the capital’s childhood obesity crisis by banning the advertisement of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) from the Transport for London (TfL) estate”.

Both Outsmart and the Advertising Association made public statements which we repeat below: –

Justin Cochrane, chairman of Outsmart “This is a missed opportunity by the Mayor. These proposals are unlikely to work as they are based on flawed data and are not supported by Londoners. To truly tackle the issue of childhood obesity requires a holistic plan that carries the full support of Londoners. For months, the advertising industry has been urging the Mayor to sit down with us and discuss how we could work together on a bigger, more ambitious plan to combat childhood obesity without harming TfL revenues. Unfortunately, he has chosen not to listen to us nor sadly, the majority of Londoners who think these proposals will be ineffective. However, our offer remains open. Let’s work together in the New Year to create an effective, evidence-based plan for the benefit of all our kids in London.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association “There is no clear evidence that a ban on high fat, salt and sugar advertising on the TfL out-of-home estate will have a positive effect on reducing childhood obesity rates in London. We all want to see rates of childhood obesity dropping but believe there are far better ways to achieve this goal. Not only will this measure fail to achieve the end goal of reducing childhood obesity, it will also damage businesses in our capital and reduce TfL’s income from advertising, with the potential of putting increased pressure on commuters through higher fares. At the same time, it is missing the opportunity of using advertising’s support to solve the problem in a more effective way. There has been little interest to date from the Mayor’s office in working together with industry to proactively tackle this important issue; however, we remain ready to work with the Mayor’s office in a constructive way.”

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