December 1st, 2015
Self-regulation attacked as responsible advertising codes dubbed a 'charade'
By Rosie Baker
Self regulation of the advertising industry is coming under attack, again. This time it is a renewed call from the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC), which claims self regulation as relating to marketing ”junk food” to children, is a “charade” as advertisers are “making, breaking and rewriting the rules” as they see fit.
In a new report the Obesity Policy Coalition lobby group has claimed the “charade of ‘responsible’ junk food ads [is] worsening”, calling out advertisers for claiming to be responsible in their approach yet “exploiting rules” and failing to protect children.
It says “looser definitions” of what healthier food is, “weakened interpretation” of advertising targeting children and a “slow, complex” complaints system renders self regulation of advertising inefficient and allows advertisers to “make, break and rewrite the rules” as they see fit. The group calls for action to protect children from messaging from “junk food brands” and is calling for the government to step in with more heavy handed legislation to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing and minimise the influence of food advertising.
It also wants the Australian Communications and Media Authority to monitor and measure children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising on television.
It says “sneaky tactics” are being used, leading to children being “bombarded” with “junk food advertising” which puts them at risk of obesity and feeds the rising rates of obesity in Australia.