Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Think of the children, ban all advertising

With the government leaving us all to rot until Easter and systematically dismantling the pub trade, the clown show of 'public health' almost offers light relief. 

The nanny state fanatics have yet to get their ban on 'junk food' advertising ban over the line in the UK, but they are already eyeing up the next opportunity to extend their control. They lobbied for the ad ban with the usual 'think of the children' excuse. Earlier this year, the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission of self-appointed do-gooders, including international quango queen Helen Clark, (self-)published an article in the Lancet titled 'A future for the world's children?' which included a section on marketing.

Companies make huge profits from marketing products directly to children and promoting addictive or unhealthy commodities, including fast foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, and tobacco, all of which are major causes of non-communicable diseases.

Because you can't move these days without seeing alcohol and tobacco being marketed 'directly to children', can you?
As we have seen with tobacco, and increasingly with food, the zealots insist that children cannot be 'protected' from advertising without advertising being banned entirely. That will always be the longterm goal, not least because they don't want adults seeing adverts for things of which they disapprove either. 

This week, an academic from New Zealand by the name of Darren Powell has written to the Lancet, accusing the Commission of not being extreme enough.

The WHO–UNICEF–Lancet Commission identified an important threat to children's health and futures by stating that children across the globe are exposed to exploitative advertising and marketing by the private sector. Fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, breastmilk substitutes, and gambling, were positioned as the key products that children are increasingly exposed to and harmed byy [breastmilk substitutes are life-saving and their advertisements are obviously not aimed at children - CJS]. However, by focusing on the marketing of particular so-called unhealthy products, the Commission has made a critical oversight. They failed to acknowledge that all marketing to children is potentially harmful to children's health.

It's not about health, is it? It's about capitalism.

...researchers and policy makers must shift the focus from merely the so-called unhealthy products that are being marketed to children and towards all products and industries—food, toys, clothing, technology, sports equipment, entertainment, and more.

He wants no advertising of anything ever because 'marketing strategies in general shape children's emotional, mental, and spiritual selves', which he evidently thinks is a job best left to progressive academics. 

Aghast at being out-woked, the Commission has written back to insist that they are on the same wavelength. They are just being strategic.

We thank Darren Powell for his insightful feedback. Members of the WHO–UNICEF–Lancet Commission agree with Powell that marketing of any products to children might encourage potentially harmful consumption for the child, the planet, and children's futures, and that more work in both academic and political spheres is needed to highlight the risks.
... Our proposal to add an Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on commercial marketing of harmful products was designed to serve as a first step in protecting children from those who would sell them a lifetime of ill health.
... Beginning with overt threats to physical and mental health would seem wise. It will be hard enough to tackle opposition from corporations promoting health-harming products. Imagine trying to fight opposition from a large coalition of companies that range from toys and games to technology and household products.
Don't say you weren't warned, toy, game, technology and household product manufacturers.

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