Advertising industry claims links between obesity and advertising are “nonsense”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th November 2012

Australia’s major advertisers have declared that the self-regulatory system for food-related advertising is already working effectively, regardless of a recent report by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC).

The Australian Association of National Advertisers suggested that the OPC’s claims do not reflect the market place reality.

Earlier this week, the OPC released a report detailing the “failure of advertising codes to protect children from junk food advertising.”

Executive Manager of the OPC, Jane Martin said that the codes are “flawed.”

“Administration and enforcement of the codes are inadequate, and finally despite the food industry introducing more codes two years ago, there is no evidence any of these have reduced children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising,” Ms Martin said.

However, the AANA said that the OPC had produced no new evidence or data to suggest that advertising contributes to healthy outcomes.

“Reputable surveys show time and time again that the general public and parents understand the causes of obesity only too well. They know we live a more sedentary existence than previous generations, they know that computer games are a problem and they don’t regard advertising as the problem,” CEO of the AANA, Alina Bain said.

“And it is nonsense to suggest that the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB)’s research report on July 16 2012, is out-of-touch with community concerns and standards around food advertising. Food and beverage advertising complaints account for around 20% of all complaints annually,” she added.

According to the AANA, the ASB’s recent Community Perceptions Report 2012 showed that when it comes to its determinations, the advertising industry takes a more conservative stance on themes relating to health than the community.

“If any member of the public has a complaint about any marketing communication, whether it be for food, cars, supermarkets, personal hygiene products, whatever all they need to do is contact the ASB, tell them what advertisement they object to and what was it about the advertisement they objected to. It is as simple as that,” Ms Bain said.