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How to Check unwanted ministerial intervention

Nothing is better calculated to bring marketers and marketing into bad odour with the young dads who now comprise our ministers of the crown than an assault on the sanctity of family values. Fairly or not, it is the main yardstick by which they judge the industry and the self-regulatory system governing it.

So, a big pat on the back for the Advertising Association for launching Check, which received the following forthright accolade from culture minister Ed Vaizey (left):

“Childhood should be free of excessive commercialisation and inappropriate content.  Fortunately the UK advertising industry has a good track record in taking its responsibilities seriously, and this industry-led initiative is further evidence of that.  Check will play an important role in ensuring advertisers and marketers continue to act responsibly when communicating with children and the Government fully supports this important work.”

So say all of us, of course; while remembering that every solid initiative like this – or for that matter the expansion of the Advertising Standards Authority’s remit to cover brand web site content – makes the likelihood of statutory intervention a more distant prospect.

What exactly is Check? The Children’s Ethical Communications Kit is a web site, launching tomorrow, that handily pools all the existing regulations governing marketing to, and communicating with, children. It has been built by the AA – the most broadly-based industry trade body – with the help of Turner Media Innovations.

As Ian Barber, director of communications at the AA, puts it: “Marketing and children is a hot topic and it’s good to see the industry keeping one step ahead.” Exactly so.

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