UK advertisers respond to "commercialisation of childhood" challenge


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In June this year, the UK government commissioned Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mother's Union, to carry out an independent review of the perceived pressures on children to grow up too quickly. Many parents felt their children were under increasing pressure to become consumers, and that the world they live in is a more sexualised place than when they were growing up. He was asked to put forward recommendations, taking into account particularly the views of parents and the business community.

Among the recommendations was banning the employment of children under 16 as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing and restricting outdoor adverts containing sexualised imagery where large numbers of children are likely to see them, for example near schools, nurseries and playgrounds.

On 10th October, the UK Advertising industry pledged not to recruit children as brand ambassadors for the sake of peer-to-peer marketing, while the Advertising Standards Authority released a statement outlining new actions to restrict the use of sexualised imagery in outdoor media – particularly near schools – and plans to provide better information to parents on digital marketing techniques. These new commitments were presented to the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Related press coverage can be seen here and here.

For more information, contact Will Gilroy at

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