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Thread: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

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    Amazed by Grace Galant's Avatar
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    HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Saw this news piece today:

    http://chronicle.gi/2018/07/junk-foo...ing-new-rules/

    Some of the salient quotes:

    "Adverts for Cadbury eggs and Chewits and Squashies sweets have been banned for breaking new rules prohibiting the advertising of junk food to children.

    The rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are the first to result from a ban on campaigns for products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) across all children’s media – including online and social – introduced in July last year."



    "The ASA banned ads on Cadbury’s website for a storybook titled The Tale Of The Great Easter Bunny, written by pop singer Frankie Bridge and featuring children hunting for Easter eggs coloured the same purple as the company’s branding, and an activity pack featuring an image of a rabbit holding a Cadbury-branded purple egg.

    It also banned four posts on the Chewits Facebook page about Chewie the Chewitsaurus celebrating GCSE results, going back to school, Roald Dahl Day and International School Libraries Month.

    The “advergame” app Squashies World, in which players match pairs of Squashies by flicking them towards each other, must no longer appear.

    The ASA told Mondelez UK, trading as Cadbury, Chewits manufacturer Cloetta and Swizzels Matlow, which makes Squashies, to ensure that ads for HFSS products are not directed at under-16s.

    The watchdog has made it clear to advertisers that it is not enough for them to filter out users who have told social media platforms they are under 16, on the grounds that some children enter false dates of birth.

    Instead, advertisers need to show they have used targeting tools to direct ads away from users whose interests suggest they are younger than they claim."



    "ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “The ban on HFSS ads in children’s online media is working, but it’s important that we enforce it rigorously."



    "Last month the Government proposed a 9pm watershed for advertising unhealthy products as part of the second chapter of its childhood obesity strategy."

    It's hard to not like any effort to promote healthier children, but this seems like some pretty extensive, far-reaching activity just to stop some adverts. No idea what all this costs the tax-payer but I'll bet it's not cheap.

    Surely this should just come down to parents being responsible for educating their children on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle - particularly because such a lifestyle is far more than just not eating sweets.

    One might even be able to argue that taking away such advertising from children hurts their development because it removes a chance for them to learn how to think about and respond to advertising and consider what part it should play in a person's life. That could/should be a discussion parents have with their children as they encounter advertising in all it many and varied forms.

    Lastly, the chief exec. cited above said that the ban is working. One presumes he means that less ads are being seen, however, in terms of kids being positively affected by this, seeing less adverts, knowing which ones are most effective etc. is it even possible to know if it's "working"? What if none of this is particularly effective? How can anyone even do a cost-benefit analysis? Should money be thrown at this sort of thing when the results/benefits are questionable?

    This all just seems like a big waste of time and money to me, and a step in the wrong direction in terms of the mindset we should be fostering in society... but maybe not.

    What do you guys think? Another step down the road to the nanny state, or a sensible precaution within a responsible society?
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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Well I guess it's what is the most cost effective solution: Enforcing good parenting or just telling advertisers to follow some rules instead. Given how much more of a nanny state I think they'd be accused of being if they tried to enforce parenting standards, this seems like a lesser interference which will hopefully still produce an improved outcome for the children and reduce future health burden on the state.

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Surely prices can be reduced with the newly-revised advertising budgets?

    As with so many things now-a-days, you have to cater for the lowest common denominator, which is normally frighteningly low....
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    "...hopefully produce an improved outcome..."

    How much money are you prepared to pour into a project for that promise?

    And I'm not suggesting they should enforce good parenting - or anything else.

    The limit might be set at attempting to determine and distribute information about what science indicates is healthy.

    It's then up to parents to raise their own kids, and if anything should be supporting that it's one another as a community/communities/family.
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    How much do you think this is actually costing?
    Quote Originally Posted by OilSheikh View Post
    You do realize that when I say things like that I don't mean it literally or what can be backed by stats.

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Well I guess it's what is the most cost effective solution: Enforcing good parenting or just telling advertisers to follow some rules instead. Given how much more of a nanny state I think they'd be accused of being if they tried to enforce parenting standards, this seems like a lesser interference which will hopefully still produce an improved outcome for the children and reduce future health burden on the state.
    That, pretty much.

    Advertising, done well, is an extremely powerful tool, especially when the audience is unsophisticated. The type, nature and collosal extent of advertising targeted explicitly at kids is a cynical manipulation of the worst type, and doing it to flog garbage that will harm kids is really. really nasty.

    If government was serking to ban parents from responsibly buying treats for their kids, that would be nanny stateism. But holding companies to standards
    is just trying to levrl the playing field a bit to rebalance the power of huge advertising budgets and give parents a chance to resist the pester power these adverts are designed to provoke.


    Mind you, I roundly detest all adverts and would like to see the entire advertising industry digging salt in a Siberian workcamp so I might not be entirely impartial.
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    "...hopefully produce an improved outcome..."

    How much money are you prepared to pour into a project for that promise?
    A commensurate amount taking into account the probability of savings you get down the line.
    And I'm not suggesting they should enforce good parenting - or anything else.

    The limit might be set at attempting to determine and distribute information about what science indicates is healthy.

    It's then up to parents to raise their own kids, and if anything should be supporting that it's one another as a community/communities/family.
    The problem with that is when parents know that they shouldn't feed sweets to kids between meals, but feel that they have to to control behaviour whilst out on a shopping trip etc. and johnny starts screaming in the queue. Giving yet more information that sweets are bad isn't going to do anything other than make the parents feel even more bad and resentful and feeling that govt is out of touch.

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    U don't see a Moose here! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    A commensurate amount taking into account the probability of savings you get down the line.
    The problem with that is when parents know that they shouldn't feed sweets to kids between meals, but feel that they have to to control behaviour whilst out on a shopping trip etc. and johnny starts screaming in the queue. Giving yet more information that sweets are bad isn't going to do anything other than make the parents feel even more bad and resentful and feeling that govt is out of touch.
    If parents give into Johnny every time he starts a strop, he becomes a spoilt child since he knows that is the easiest way to get stuff.

    Also why does it need to be sweets - why not a piece of fruit or something healthier??
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 05-07-2018 at 08:56 AM.


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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    If parents give into Johnny every time he starts a strop, he becomes a spoilt child since he knows that is the easiest way to get stuff.

    Also why does it need to be sweets - why not a piece of fruit or something healthier??
    That's exactly the point. You can make it easier for parents by reducing sweet advertising and putting more healthy options near checkouts - make their already hard job just a little easier. Or you can start enforcing good parenting and tell parents they mustn't give in to their children.. which is the more nanny state?

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    U don't see a Moose here! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    That's exactly the point. You can make it easier for parents by reducing sweet advertising and putting more healthy options near checkouts - make their already hard job just a little easier. Or you can start enforcing good parenting and tell parents they mustn't give in to their children.. which is the more nanny state?
    I am in favour of limiting advertising towards children overall. In the end more advertising actually puts more pressure on parents.

    In the past it was bad enough,but its much harder now since there are more platforms to push ads,and its everywhere now.

    Its why I find advertising like this despicable:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQB2NjhJHvY



    No wonder people got so annoyed with it(look at how many downvotes it has got compared to other ads on the channel),as all they are doing is targeting children at a young age to be nice little lifelong consumer drones for a company.

    ***Side note begins****

    TBH,I also never understood the nanny state thing - we are already under multiple rules anyway not some anything goes society. I am sure there are people who would be great drivers without an official test,driving license,driving rules or need for insurance,but it doesn't mean everyone will.People have this view if no rules existed everything would be fine,except a lot of our own behaviour is probably shaped by the rules of the society we are in.

    I expect if there were no rules,it would be more akin to The Purge depicted in this film:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purge

    ***Side note ends***
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 05-07-2018 at 10:10 AM.


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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I am in favour of limiting advertising towards children overall. In the end more advertising actually puts more pressure on parents.
    It's a problem when kids are very young with no notion of cost, ownership and thinking that all desires should be instantly met. There are already rules about advertising to that age group, they seemed to work well enough for me. It was the kids seeing some toy they liked the look of in a supermarket that could get stressful

    That was a pretty short time though, as teenagers they pretty much laugh at advertising. I can't remember what age they switched, but it feels a long time ago. My son is doing both business studies and graphics as part of his GCSE options, he loves to be at the unboxing of items not to gasp in wonder at their shiny but to critique the presentation and possibly learn from it.

    And I think that's my beef with an advertising ban like this. I'm sure advertising boosts market share, but I doubt it makes kids fat. Life just doens't have cause and effect relationships which are that simple, else advertising carrots would make kids skinny; job done.

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    It's a problem when kids are very young with no notion of cost, ownership and thinking that all desires should be instantly met. There are already rules about advertising to that age group, they seemed to work well enough for me. It was the kids seeing some toy they liked the look of in a supermarket that could get stressful

    That was a pretty short time though, as teenagers they pretty much laugh at advertising. I can't remember what age they switched, but it feels a long time ago. My son is doing both business studies and graphics as part of his GCSE options, he loves to be at the unboxing of items not to gasp in wonder at their shiny but to critique the presentation and possibly learn from it.

    And I think that's my beef with an advertising ban like this. I'm sure advertising boosts market share, but I doubt it makes kids fat. Life just doens't have cause and effect relationships which are that simple, else advertising carrots would make kids skinny; job done.
    I think it does affect kids though,especially kids who have been born in the last 5 to 10 years,since its a constant stream via multiple platforms. Adverts like that Apple one,are an example of that. A £619 iPad Pro for a kid,and then using that to push it instead of a "computer" which can be had for £150. That is disgusting advertising.

    I have seen examples of it even going outside where kids throw hissy fits when a parent wants to buy them a electronic item,but not that "brand" of electronic item which has been pushed everywhere(I mean any famous brand name).

    I look at the cost and think,a few £100,really?? The item the kid didn't want in one instance was already £300,and the one they wanted was more expensive.

    Also governments can't even give certain guidelines about parenting,since that would be a "nanny state" or trampling on "parents rights",etc and you need to understand even if YOU are a parent who is well informed and strict enough,it does not mean many are. Anyone can pop a child out irrespective if they would be able to be a good parent. You have more regulation to drive a car than have a kid TBH!!

    Why do we have social services?? It goes back to my example about driving. There are restrictions on driving too - it does not mean someone isn't a good driver just because you have road rules,need to pass a driving test,and get insurance and have restrictions. But guess what,plenty of people will probably be crap drivers.

    Plus you also need to consider unlike 30 years ago its far more common for parents to work much longer hours,meaning they can't always be with kids,and companies are spending billions on advertising.

    In the end there is only so much parents can do to limit the impact of 24/7 indoctrination to buy their products.

    Come on DwU,how many times have we had grown adults make excuses for companies which might be doing things which affect their own rights as consumers?? Now extend that to kids who don't even have the life experience yet to try and make informed decisions.

    It also causes other problems - what if you cannot afford as a parent to buy that latest £500 gadget or toy?? Can you imagine the pressure with kids since their parents won't buy it. It only takes one or two better off parent at a school to buy it,before it puts pressure on other parents too with all the advertising everywhere. Hence many parents on lower incomes going into debt to buy presents for their kids. I have seen that happen too.

    The fact is advertising to kids,is really advertising for kids to pressurise parents to spend their money,by using kids as a bargaining chip.

    Edit!!

    Also what about internet advertising and social media?? Much harder to regulate targeting of kids via internet ads or stuff outside your home. Social media itself pushes a lot of these kinds of things now. Marketing I would argue is increasingly getting more and more sophisticated,even using indirect means to push products.

    Plus again us lot on Hexus are more technologically aware people,so we probably have some clue how they operate - how many parents are able to keep up at the rapid pace of technology when their kids know 10X more than them??
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 05-07-2018 at 12:55 PM.


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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I think it does affect kids though,especially kids who have been born in the last 5 to 8 years,since its a constant stream via multiple platforms.
    That has been true for some time. My youngest is 13, they grew up with YouTube, Netflix and TiVo to the point they were quite old before they understood what a TV channel was because the concept of watching "live" entertainment that doesn't start when you want it to was alien.

    Whilst I would love to claim full credit for their well balanced upbringing, TBH I think it is more down to them and their peers being native to this advert bombardment and fairly oblivious to it. So yes, we have seen adults say the stupidest things, but they aren't digital natives so can't be discussed in the same way.

    and yes there are kids with rich parents. That kid that every 6 months had a new top end phone at *primary* school. But life has always been like that, it my youth it was a kid having the latest racing bike or someone else with a top of the line BBC micro (twin floppy disks, wow!). That is why we have school uniform, to stop kids with no money getting bullied because all the kids wear the same stuff, but beyond that we all have to learn about not having what we want, specially when you see what having everything you want turns some of these people into.

    My kids got stick for starting secondary school with a Moto-E. They don't seem to be scarred for life tbh.

    I also took them to Cadbury World. We had fun, they aren't fat.

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    What do you guys think? Another step down the road to the nanny state, or a sensible precaution within a responsible society?
    We tried leaving people to decide for themselves and we ended up with fat, lazy people addicted to reality TV expecting the schools and the state to fill the role of parent....

    They had their chance - Now it's time to enforce!!

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Get them young and you have got them forever

    Now after having my own child I am more for this sort of thing. I think i saw that they were thinking of putting the sugar tax on cereals which I think they should have done first. There is far more sugar in Coco pops than the usual fizzy drinks (around 10%), nearly 40% (39g in 100g) is sugar which is bat shat crazy if you ask me. 20% should be the limit. I used to love Frosties but switched to Low sugar Frosties, after a couple of months of eating them i had normal ones again and found them way too sweet. Now I tend to have Frosted Wheats which are still quite sweet.

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    Re: HFSS - Nanny State or Responsible Society?

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Looks like I'm on my own with this one. Bit of surprise to me. I tend towards small government principles and for me there are two general issues here. The first is that money is being thrown at something with no real way of measuring the effect. It's essentially saying - we don't want kids eating junk foods so we're going to monitor and censor advertisers and do it in increasingly invasive and complex ways. Yet there might be lots of reasons influencing foods choices in children, and restricting advertisers might not be an effective way to do it. The government role in advertising, I think, should be to ensure that advertisers aren't lying, and perhaps monitor appropriate content.

    The second issue is the general notion of the government having to take responsibility for raising, or being sought out to raise, children. That responsibility falls on the parents and should be encouraged along those lines. Government, if anything, should seek to advise and inform, to help parents do their job. Even if parenting is seemingly failing in some way, the solution should be to develop and strengthen parenting. The term 'nanny-state' has wider connotations, but considering that a nanny looks after children, this is about as literal an interpretation of that term as we'll find. Instead of pouring tax payer money into things like this, educate parents, work through communities, groups, etc. and seeking to promote the healthy growth of both children and parents. More parental responsibility and care, and education for kids, is always a good thing. But trying to prevent advertisers from targeting kids in the hopes of influencing their choices in the media-age in which we live seems to me to be a wrong move on several levels - effectiveness, cost, censorship, relocation of responsibility.

    It's obviously not the worse thing in the world, and I'm all for raising wiser, healthier children, but this just seems to me to be the wrong sort of solution for this problem.
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