The Department for Education report into the progress made since Reg Bailey, chief executive of Mother’s Union, published his report in 2011 praises the voluntary moves made by the advertising industry.
The original report set out several tasks for the industry including:
- Reducing the amount of on-street advertising containing sexualised imagery in locations where children are likely to see it.
- Ensuring that the regulation of advertising reflects more closely parents’ and children’s views.
- Raising parental awareness of marketing and advertising techniques.
- Ensuring greater transparency in the regulatory framework by creating a single website for regulators.
- Prohibiting the employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer to peer marketing.
The Dfe says it is “pleased” with the progress made in these areas and encouraged the industry to continue self regulatory efforts to maintain standards.
The advertising industry was quick to demonstrate willingness to act following publication of the report. Led by the Advertising Association, a pledge not to use peer to peer marketing or child brand ambassadors in campaigns was published and signed by major advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Nintendo.
The Advertising Standards Authority has cracked down on overtly sexualised imagery in outdoor ads and visited schools to raise awareness of complaint procedures and gather opinions on what kids want to see reflected in ad codes. The ad watchdog- in partnership with regulators including Ofcom and the BBC Trust – also setup ParentPort, a single location where parents can post complaints about inappropriate programmes, ads, products and services.
In the report’s foreword, children and families minister Edward Timpson backed self-regulation but warned against complacency.
“Those in business should not promote things for other people’s children that they would not accept for their own. We think that these things can be done voluntarily and within the existing regulatory frameworks.
“However, we shall continue to follow closely the progress that is being made and, if necessary, we will look at introducing statutory regulation if effective voluntary action is not forthcoming.”