Lord Bell has branded the Government the “enemy state” and urged the industry to stop caving into its demands. The Chime Communications chairman made the comments in a spirited attack on the Government at the annual Incorporated Society British Advertisers conference.
Bell, who is a former adviser to the Conservative Party, was speaking as part of a panel debate called Advertising under siege – the fight back starts here. He told the conference: “The solution is not to negotiate, not be responsible, not to talk to opinion formers, each other or ourselves. It is to do what we’re best at. To do what no one else understands, to do what politicians say they are going to do but never do; trust the people.”
He added that the industry should launch outreach campaigns and use itself as a force for good. This was echoed by other members of the panel, who were Rupert Howell, managing director of brand and commercial, Ben Clarke, vice-president and area director at Kraft Foods, Baroness Coussins, a member of the Advertising Standards Authority council, and ISBA president, John Clare.
Howell told the delegates that he had been in discussions with the Government and other groups on the issue of advertising restrictions. The Government introduced a ban on advertising foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children last year and there have been calls for a complete ban before 9pm.
Bell, who was once described as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite adman, has made the comments just a week after Chime was appointed to work with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) on the handover of the games from Beijing to London in August this year.