Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kids' Advertisers Prepare to Rumble

The US Association of National Advertisers' Advertising Law & Business Affairs Conference began today with a warning: "2007 will be a year of focus on kids' advertising." Concerned legal council and related experts (including legal council for the tobacco industry) are meeting this week to discuss the anticipated impact of the growing controversy around junk food marketing and childhood obesity, as well as how this development could resurface in other areas of the children's industries. As John Feldman, partner at law firm Reed Smith, described at a panel this morning called "Overweight and Overwrought: Children's Advertising in the Crosshairs":
Right now...the scrutiny is on food marketers' advertising to children, but a number of other self-regulated categories could be next on the docket. "Politically," he said, "what gets traction better than kids?"

Feldman also announced the launch of a new, industry-focused website, which will provide news and updates on regulatory developments relevant to marketing to children. So far, the site is pretty US-specific, but I did see a couple of news items on the UK, where advertising junk food and unhealthy food on television to children and youth under the age of 16 years was recently all but banned.

Check in with AdAge for ongoing coverage of the conference. Otherwise, this site looks like an excellent (although industry-biased) resource for following new and ongoing developments in this area...although not quite as awesome as, which maintains this handy-dandy, interactive legislation tracking map for US legislation pertaining to digital games.

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