Here’s a more mature issue than kids’ ads

The freedom to advertise sugary and high-fat food products to children is under much greater threat than your article “Sweet nothing” (MW July 6) suggests.

It is not only the Independent Television Commission that is looking into the advertising of food products to children. The Office of Trade and Industry and the Food Standards Agency is also reviewing such advertising practice, and the European Commission will shortly consider banning the advertising of toys.

There are even proposals to ban the use of commercials alongside children’s programming.

Such a tidal wave of nannying and political correctness may strike fear into the hearts of junk-food producers, toys and sweets manufacturers and ad agencies, but it may be of huge benefit to most companies.

What could have taken years of common-sense argument may be achieved by health tsars, European Union bureaucrats and do-gooders in a very short time – namely, to direct companies at the wealthiest and fastest-growing sector of society: the mature market.

The over-50s market spends far more money on nearly every conceivable product and service than all the younger markets combined. In fact, 25 per cent of spending on children’s toys is by grandparents. Yet, until now, this has been largely ignored.

And if, with all this wealth, the mature sector collectively decides to buy packets of Werther’s Originals for its grandchildren, I do not think even the most hard-nosed of nannies could complain.

Kevin Lavery

Executive creative director

Millennium Direct

Shipley

West Yorkshire

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