I don't know if epolitix is anything more than a glorified tabloid but there was a quote in it today in regards to that old junk food ads aimed at children might get banned story that set off my nitpick-gene, and I just have to scratch it.
Advertisers say a ban will have no positive benefit pointing to Sweden which has the same levels of obesity despite a long-standing prohibition.
Why am I finding so many things wrong with this quote?
Lets start with asking prohibition of what exactly?
Swedens advertising laws are pretty straighforward, ads are not allowed to be obviously aimed directly at children under 12 years of age. McDonald's and the likes don't have to worry much about this if they simply show teenagers eating at McD, and then buy airtime during the tellytubbies. Their ads are 'obviously' aimed at teenagers, right? DM marketing is not "a good practice" to send out to children under the age of 16, yet when any girl turns 13 they'll get bombarded with tampon and pad samples from the likes of Libresse and Always, clearly you can bend the rules a little any way you like it.
When it comes to TV advertising you may not interrupt a childrens programme with ads, nor air ads directly before or after a childrens programme. Alas, two of the biggest national (and Nordic) channels are exempt from these laws, TV3 aired it's first broadcast new years eve 1987, a few years later Channel 5 was born in 1989, both air from the UK, thus following the UK advertising laws, and they can air ads whenever the heck they please during childrens programming.
If you look at the statistics of overweight children in Sweden and the rest of Europe you'll find that in the past fifteen years (oddly coinciding with the advertising I've just explained that Sweden does have these days) the rise of obesity has skyrocketed.
Still, the Swedish children are not as obese as the UK children.
Percentage of overweight children 6-17 years of age:
1. Italy 36
2. Greece and Spain 27
4. Switzerland 24
5. Croatia 23
6. Great Britain 20
7. France 19
8. Sweden 18
10. Poland 15
12. Belgium, Denmark the Netherlands and Germany 14
16. Finland 13
18. Russia 9
source: IOTF numbers are from 2003.
Lastly who the hell is "advertisers"? I'd like to know who said that. Surely someone started that train of thought. Who? An ad agency exec or a marketing head of some fast food company? If the anonymous quotee can't be bothered looking up some simple facts, how about the journalist do some research? Surely that is what those who propose legislation do before proposing any? Maybe they rang up those Psychologists at the University of Liverpool and asked to see their research papers results.