Bye-bye big Mac (and its mutant friends)

In a seldom seen move, in a sector where money usually talks louder than sense, an announcement banning of junk food ads came as a surprise today:

Ofcom has announced a total ban on junk food advertising around all children’s programming, on all children’s channels and around all programmes that have a “particular appeal” to under 16-year-olds. The surprise is that Ofcom has chosen to extend the restrictions to any programme any time of the day that has an “above-average” audience of under 16-year-olds. This brings into the ban a range of programmes previously considered to be unaffected by the likely proposals such as music channels and shows, many awards ceremonies and early evening general entertainment programmes.

The biggest laugh was the squealing and ‘crocodile tears’ as claims of up to £140 million in lost revenue were made. How stupid do these people think we are? Are the junk food merchants the only ones after the advertising slots available at those times? Like Hell they are! There’ll be long queue of big businesses at the door, only too keen to take over the same slots and target the parents of the poor little children who will now be denied their visual ‘food fix’. These slots already carry ads for targetted at parents, for clothes, cosmetics, toiletries and accessories ‘needed’ by busy and doting parents as they get their beloved offspring ready for the next day, pampered and groomed in readiness for their coming hard day at school (or nursery), looking better, and equipped with newer fashion accessories than the Jones’s kids.

Is Channel 4 run so marginally that its comment on the news was that they could “Run into financial difficulties”. From restrictions on ONE advertising segment (that is freed to allow other ads to be run)? Others are claiming that the “Qualityof their programmes” may suffer as a result of the lost finance. Quality? That has to be marginal at best, as most of it is managed along the lines of a Bond film, and aimed at product placement and merchandising.

While the interview was running, one mother summed up the problem that people like McD*n*ld’s try and brainwash their opponents into missing. Her daughter saw the current  McD*n*ld’s ad (loud, colourful and featuring the latest ‘must have’ fad) and that was all she talked about seeing afterwards.

Actually, it will be interesting to watch the run up to the arrival of the full ban by 2008, to see which of them battle it out for the released ad slots.

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