Anyone in advertising who believes in its power has to be alive to the idea that a ban on ‘junk food’ advertising may now be appropriate. My issue is with the practicalities beyond the headlines. For starters what do we actually mean by junk food? is there a workable definition for what is a remarkably glib term? And what do we mean by advertising to children? Is it advertising that targets children, advertising that uses certain sales techniques to appeal to children or advertising popular amongst children? As we all know much advertising that is popular amongst children is not aimed at them and not placed in airtime when we expect them to be viewing. My caution is simply that we need to recognise a ban on advertising ‘junk’ food to children may be a political inevitability – but could well prove practically ineffective. Moreover, there is something downright wrong about any society that bans the advertising of ‘junk food’ to children but still permits it to be served everyday at school.

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