Transport for London receives the April 2019 BAN Award for rejecting an advertisement designed to run on the London Underground because it contained bacon, butter and jam.
Previously, on the 25th of February 2019, junk food advertising was banned on the entire Transport for London (TfL) network. Since then on, food and drink brands “will only be able to place adverts which promote their healthier products, rather than simply publicising their brands.” The measure is part of the mayor’s plan to decrease child obesity rates.
The Consumer Choice Center’s Managing Director Fred Roeder said that combating childhood obesity is a noble goal, but trampling on consumer choice, the rights of adult consumers, and brand freedom isn’t an appropriate solution.
“Even though we all agree that obesity is an important issue, marketing restrictions haven’t proved to be effective in stemming it. In 1980, junk food advertising was outlawed in Quebec and contrary to the expected outcomes, childhood obesity rates went up by 140% in the 15 years following the introduction of the ban,” said Roeder.
“Supporters of the junk food ad ban often use The Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme to showcase the effectiveness of bans. What is often overlooked though is that The Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme also included changes in curriculum, an increase in physical exercise, education, and training of children and adults. The programme really did drive down obesity rates between 2012 and 2015. However, this was not due to the ban on metro advertising that was introduced three years later,” said Roeder.
“While it is true that advertisements help distinguish products on the market, governments should preserve consumers’ rights to decide for themselves and avoid legislation that seeks to ban brands. Ultimately, we as a society need to focus on educating and empowering parents to ensure their children make healthy choices,” concluded Roeder.
About the BAN Award
Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice.
This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.
Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.
The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org