September 6th, 2012
Fighting Limits On Junk-Food Ads Leaves Bad Taste
By David Goetzl
Even as childhood obesity becomes an increasing problem, it’s unlikely that heavy government restrictions on junk-food advertising will come anytime soon. Advertisers are making the case that they are already reducing the sugar and fat content in kid-targeted products, while ad industry lobbyists oppose restrictions.
Now, if Mike Bloomberg were to become president, things might be a whole lot different. Regulations issued in a Bloomberg administration might ultimately lead to a Supreme Court case involving Froot Loops and Power Rangers.
Mayor Bloomberg is on the brink of forcing restaurants and other vendors to limit sugary beverage sizes to 16 ounces in New York, enraging the soda lobby.
Disney recently said that in 2015 it would stop taking ads in kids’ programming for certain foods and beverages, looking to join efforts—including the one by First Lady Michelle Obama—to combat childhood obesity. There is plenty there for critics to say it’s a publicity stunt. The Disney Channel doesn’t run ads and theme parks are not falling in line with any Bloomberg-like restrictions. Also, Disney CEO Bob Iger has reportedly said the move should only result in a short-term drop in ad dollars.