By the time you read this, you may well know who has won the UK’s 2010 General Election, but in a review, at least a third of which will presumably become reality as all manifesto promises of course do, Mark Smith reports what Con, Lab and LibDem say they will do for (or to) advertising.
Who: Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats
When: April 2010
Law stated as at: 25 April 2010
The three main UK political parties – Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – have issued their manifestos for the forthcoming General Election on 6 May 2010, all of which herald potential changes to UK advertising and marketing law.
The Labour manifesto proposes the following policies which could result in changes to advertising and marketing law:
- supporting parents who challenge aggressive or sexualised commercial marketing, which includes Consumer Focus developing a website for parents to register their concerns about sexualised products aimed at their children;
- promoting consistent, easily understood labelling of financial products; and
- ensuring proper food labelling, including tougher and clearer “country of origin” information.
The Conservative manifesto contains considerably more relevant proposals in this area:
- preventing any marketing or advertising company found to be in serious breach of rules governing marketing to children from bidding for Government advertising contracts for three years;
- banning companies from using new peer-to-peer marketing techniques targeted at children, and tackle marketing on corporate websites targeted at children;
- establishing a new online system that gives parents greater powers to take action against irresponsible commercial activities targeted at children;
- empowering head teachers and governors to ban advertising and vending machines in schools;
- requiring credit card companies to provide clear information; and
- introducing honesty in food labelling so consumers can be confident about where their food comes from and whether it is non-GM.
Liberal Democrats manifesto
The Liberal Democrats have proposed the following relevant policies:
- helping protect children and young people from developing negative body images by regulating airbrushing in adverts;
- working with other countries to develop an international labelling system for the environmental impact of products; and
- helping consumers to choose foods with the least environmental impact, through clearer labelling, and working with the EU to make sure country-of-origin labels identify the source of the products, not where they are packaged.
Why this matters:
Whilst there are distinctions between the parties’ manifestos, we can see some clear themes emerging, most notably in relation to clearer food labelling and marketing to children. This suggests that, even in the event of the anticipated hung Parliament, we can expect greater regulation in these areas under the next Government.