Marketers take on some responsibility

What a lovely bunch of people we marketers are. Leaving aside KesselsKramer’s lovely range of baby clothing (MW March 22), two of your recent lead news stories have cast us in a less-than-flattering light.

Chris Smith (MW March 22) appears to have joined most of his Labour colleagues in his submission to the whims of the corporate world. Marketers want to target the easily-influenced, so Smith comes up with an excuse about commercial TV’s ability to make children’s programmes. Perhaps Smith should watch children’s TV more often. With a few notable (and very laudable) exceptions, most children’s programmes are imported, on both commercial networks and the BBC. He would do well to use his role as culture secretary to ask some searching questions about this, but if he’d rather wave the junk-food and toy manufacturers straight through to the commercial breaks, then we can only welcome his stance (as the ISBA did) and say “phew, our jobs are safe, as long as we don’t think too hard about what exactly we’re doing.”

I noted also that your item on the tobacco advertising ban (MW last week) didn’t contain a quote from Smith. Perhaps he finds the issue a little thorny for comfort. The tobacco industry is too far beyond the pale to be associated-with. Leave that to the evil, rheumy-eyed Lords, they’re always good when you want to water down an election pledge. At least, I suppose, most tobacco advertising hits responsible adults (I shall not attempt the legal minefield of “factors that encourage adolescents to take up smoking”). Thank heaven for cynicism, and Polly Devaney (MW March 22). It’s time we as a profession took some responsibility.

Christopher Zapparat

Ripon

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