Ad Bans Don't Work
Statement by Glen Wiggs, Director of the Foundation for Advertising Research
Advertising bans of fast food and soft drinks will lead to an increase in consumption by teenagers and children according to research released today by the Foundation for Advertising Research.
“Advertising bans do not work but actually encourage consumption of the banned product with children and teenagers. ‘Forbidden fruit tastes best’ is the attitude of teenagers and children who show their disapproval of arbitrary rules and bans by deliberately consuming the product. This behaviour contradicts the objective of the ban.
Health advocates often hold out Sweden as a model of good regulation that should be emulated in Australia and New Zealand. There has been strict regulation of the marketing of alcohol for 60 years, which has included advertising bans. Despite this binge drinking by Swedish teenagers is 60% higher than in Australia.
Sweden also has banned advertising to children since 1989 but child obesity rates are not only similar to other European countries but are accelerating to a doubling every 10 years.
The Swedish policy of strict regulation and advertising bans has clearly failed and should be avoided at all costs.
Advocates of advertising bans should look at the evidence before coming to simplistic solutions of advertising bans to solve social problems”