Fat chance ban on junk food TV ads will backfire | Letters

Channel 4’s chief executive is wrong, says Guy Parker of the ASA. Targeting such ads at children online is already banned

The chief executive of Channel 4, Alex Mahon, is wrong to suggest that children are being “hyper-targeted” on digital platforms with ads for products that are high in fat, salt and sugar (Curbs on junk food TV ads may backfire, says C4 boss, 27 June). Targeting such ads at children online is already banned. The ban covers ads on all children’s websites, apps and social media platforms, including on YouTube, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. And the burden of proof is on companies advertising online to show the ASA they’ve taken appropriate steps to target HFSS food ads away from children. Mahon speculates that “every pound previously spent on TV (will be) switched to YouTube or Google and targeted at children”. Given the existing ban, that simply won’t happen.
Guy Parker
Chief executive, Advertising Standards Authority

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