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Chartered Institute

CIM calls on businesses and marketers to be more socially minded and responsible


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 18, 2011 | 2 min read

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is calling on businesses and marketers to be more socially minded and responsible in its latest paper, entitled ‘Leave Those Kids Alone? – Responsible marketing to children’.

The paper looks at the current moral and regulatory framework surrounding the commercialisation of children, and how organisations can employ best practice by balancing what is ‘right’ both legally and morally.

It considers how social marketing tactics can help provide support to parents and people working with young people who are looking for guidance about exposing young people to commercial messaging.

Key recommendations made in the paper are: marketers should be responsible and not promote a product that is, or is widely believed to be, bad for a minor’s physical or mental health; a campaign should be mindful of the audience and not sexualise, or be perceived to sexualise, minors; it is important not to bombard children or parents with repeated messages; and where there is any doubt, marketers should promote the product or service to the adult and not the minor.

The CIM is calling on the marketing profession to consider an increased industry-parental dialogue to understand further what parents deem acceptable levels of commercial messaging and approaches, something which it deems ‘increasingly important’ following Mumsnet’s Let Girls be Girls campaign and whistleblowing website, ParentPort, launched by David Cameron this month.

David Thorp, director of research and professional development, said: “The issue of marketing to children is one of morals, rather than one bound by regulation; meaning that the whole supply chain – from product development, to marketing to shelf stocking – needs to apply reasonable objectivity to ensure that products and services are appropriate. As such, the recommendations and parameters set by the Bailey Review earlier this year are encouraging.

“We recommend that businesses and individuals apply a rational, sensible and ethical approach to their marketing practices. In particular, if we listen to parents, and comply with their wishes, this will be good for consumers and good for business.”

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