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ISBA rejects calls to ban advertising targeted at those under 11

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

April 11, 2013 | 2 min read

The ISBA, the UK’s advertiser body, has rejected claims made by the Leave Our Kids Alone campaign group, which has suggested that there should be no advertising targeted at children, as the nation should be looking to create citizens not consumers.

The letter, which was published in the Telegraph, said: “We have sleepwalked into a situation where the advertising industry, worth £12bn a year in Britain alone, is allowed to turn techniques designed to manipulate adult emotions and desires on to children as young as two or three. This is wrong.”

In response, Ian Twinn, ISBA’s director of public affairs, said: “Prohibiting adverts aimed at children completely undermines the power of the parent in saying ‘no’ and ignores the independently regulated restrictions and codes, which advertisers already work within, and with the backing of government.

“Advertising provides all consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions and the evidence shows that self-regulation is working, with great strides also being made in the online space which our children inhabit too. If anyone is to be accused of ‘sleepwalking’, it is the so-called experts and academics who have been woolly-minded and willfully ignorant of reality in this latest clarion call.

“The example cited of Greece is particularly disingenuous; there the ban on advertising toys on TV had more to do with economic protectionism than responsible advertising. What we have in the UK is a system of self-regulation that protects and empowers consumers to make their own minds up in a thriving and open market.”

There are already several codes in place explaining what can and can’t be advertised to children, with regulations being put in place in 2007 stating that junk food cannot be advertised during children’s TV shows.

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