Addressing attendees at the Women in Advertising and Communications London (WACL) dinner last night (27 June), Miliband indicated his party would be unlikely to force brands to take action but that the advertising industry has a “responsibility” to address the issue.
The leader of the opposition, delivering his first major speech on marketing since becoming leader in 2010, recalled a conversation with a young woman who complained about the pressures the people who have “real power and control” in advertising and the media are putting on young people.
He said: “There are great examples where the advertising industry has led the way in displaying 21st century images of men and women. Including people in this room. And I applaud the creativity, the freshness, the innovation that your industry displays.
“But it does not always do so.We all know there are still too many images in our advertising that reflect outdated ideas about the role of men and women, boys and girls. There are still too many adverts which do not show the modern world as it is – let alone as it should be.
“Of course, there are limits to what government can do about this. But it is something we must to talk about. And something which advertisers have a responsibility to address.”
The Prime Minister David Cameron made several speeches slamming “irresponsible” marketing to children soon after taking office and asked Mother’s Union boss Reg Bailey to produce a report on the sexualisation of children. The subsequent “Bailey Report” led to the launch of several initiatives by the advertising industry.