Marketers “irresponsible” in pursuit of growth, says Cameron

David Cameron has accused marketers of exploiting children by launching “irresponsible” marketing campaigns in the pursuit of growth.

David Cameron
David Cameron

In a speech discussing how the “well-being” of the UK could be improved, the Prime Minster, says that business success, measured by GDP, is “an incomplete way of measuring a country’s progress” and does not “show how growth is created”.

“We saw an irresponsible media and marketing free-for-all justified on the argument that it was good for growth – with little thought about the impact on childhood,” he adds.

In response, Tim Lefroy, chief executive of the Advertising Association, which recently launched the Children’s Ethical Communications Kit to help companies develop responsible products and campaigns that target children, says that the advertising industry takes its responsibilities seriously.

“Marketers have kids too. We get the need for responsibility and restraint. The rules are tight and will soon apply more comprehensively in the digital space”.

The coalition government has vowed to crackdown on “irresponsible” techniques such as peer to peer marketing to children.

Deputy prime minster Nick Clegg said in June that he was concerned about “irresponsible advertising that sexualises children, that’s makes them anxious of how they look, that encourages them to place too much value in brands.”

Cameron’s comments come as he announced the Office of National Statistics will begin to measure “well being” from April 2011 by questioning people about subjects such as health and education.

He says: “First it’s [the ONS measurement] going to open up a national debate about what really matters – not just in government but among all the people that influence our lives.

“In the media, in business. The people who develop the products we use, who build the towns we live in, who shape the culture we enjoy. And second, this information will help government work out, with evidence, the best ways of helping to improve people’s well-being.”

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