Brands need to ‘raise the responsible marketing bar’

Brands need to continue to “raise the bar” by developing responsible marketing practises that exceed societal expectations if they want to continue to avoid statutory regulation imposed by the government, according to the president of ISBA.


Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola UK and Ireland, delivering his first keynote at the advertising industry’s annual conference since taking over from Molson Coors boss Mark Hunter, said that in areas such as marketing to children and food and drink advertising, the “governments appetite to intervene will be determined by what the industry chooses to do – or not do.”

The coalition prefers companies to self-regulate rather than forcing change through regulation.

Several brands, including Coca-Cola, have pledged to stop using peer-to-peer marketing or child brand ambassadors in their campaigns in response to Mothers’ Union boss Reg Bailey’s government-backed report on the commercialisation of children.

Food brands and retailers have already made changes to menus and formulation as part of the government’s “responsibility deal” with industry on public health.

Woods adds: “We must continue to demonstrate a genuine preparedness to identify best practice in key areas of the debate, and encourage adoption in areas where bad or dubious practice is felt to exist, he said, adding “as an industry we should take pride in setting the standard and raising the bar”.

Separately, Woods says that the marketing industry can play its part in generating consumer demand despite what he predicts will continue to be flat economic growth.

“I do believe though that we make a valuable contribution to UK plc and that innovation and creativity – something that this industry and this country excels at – should continue to be a focus for us and something which could, help in a small way, to get the economy moving again.”

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