Updated: Nov 17, 2020
A total ban of online ads for food and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar will do “untold harm” to both brands and the creative sector at what is already a very difficult time, according to a joint statement from the Advertising Association, ISBA, the IPA and IAB.
The warning comes as the government launches its consultation on the proposed ban of online advertising for junk food.
“Obesity is rightly recognised by the public and by health experts as a complex problem, and one for which there is no single answer. But the proposal to completely outlaw online advertising of certain food and drink is a severe and disproportionate measure that goes far beyond the government’s objective of protecting children,” it claims.
The signatories urge ministers not to “damage the jobs and tax revenue” the sector creates and to start engaging with the industry to develop “evidenced solutions that are targeted at the problem they wish to address, appropriate to digital media and fit for the 21st century.
"If this policy of an outright ban goes ahead, it will deal a huge blow to UK advertising at a time when it is reeling from the impact of Covid-19. This consultation has landed just as we have entered another period of lockdown, with all the heightened uncertainty this creates for people and businesses right across the country."
“Businesses that should be devoting their time and energy to surviving this economically unpredictable situation will now have to devote precious resources to responding to the government and working out whether they will even be able to advertise their products in future.”