Heading off escape routes for junk food ads


It doesn’t really do much good to rid the airwaves of ads trying to hook children on unhealthy foods and beverages if they turn around and run into the very same pitches on websites designed to attract their attention. Watchdog Children Now is looking to do something about a mass migration of junk food advertising to the web.
"While there are some rules for TV, there are no rules when you move online," Children Now’s Patti Miller told BusinessWeek online. "We don’t want to reduce junk food advertising to kids (on TV) and then find that it has just moved to another platform."

Studies are out saying that a recent FTC report on the topic of children’s food/beverage advertising and its close relative, childhood obesity, does not go far enough. They are promising to get their latest stats before members of Congress.

While the food companies say they are effectively policing themselves, and many of the largest have joined an FCC task force on the subject, watchdogs think not nearly enough is being done, all while the regulators themselves wonder how much authority they truly have.

RBR/TVBR observation: If regulators are serious about an effective program, they cannot allow money squeezed out of broadcasting to simply rush on to the internet. Anything less than a holistic approach to the problem is simply a waste of time—all it will do is benefit one medium at the expense of another. C’mon Washington, if we’re going to do it, let’s make it effective – and keep it fair.