The NSPCC has called on brands to play their part in ending the sexualisation of young people as political pressure on companies to address the issue grows.
The children’s charity says “the growing climate of sexualisation encourages a view of girls as sex objects” and companies need to “give more thought” about how their marketing might affect children.
The NSPCC’s comments follow the publication of the Government-commissioned report by Dr Linda Papadopoulos that recommends a “one-stop shop” website for parents to complain about advertising that sexualises children as part of a series of measures aimed at tackling the problem.
In addition, Conservative Party leader David Cameron used his speech at the party’s spring conference to call on broadcasters and retailers to
think about how commercial messages and products might be perceived by children.
Cameron followed his recent vow to ban agencies that use “offensive marketing tactics” from bidding for government contracts for three years by saying he and others bringing up children had a “dread” of finding items in shops that “you wouldn’t want a 25-year-old to wear, let alone a five-year-old.”
Gary Pope, director of family marketing specialist Kids Industries, says: “It’s about taking responsibility and doing the right thing.”
Responding to Dr Papadopoulos’ report, ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn says advertisers share the report’s concerns about “inappropriate” marketing and products, and that all parties – government, parents, local authorities as well as advertisers – have a part to play in finding solutions.