Apparently the Brits are starting to get it. According to Marketing Week, the Conservative Party in the U.K. vows to crack down on insidious commercialization directed toward children. The party unveiled a general election manifesto April 13 that would end the “excessive pressure” placed on children by brands. It would take action against companies that flout rules governing marketing to children, ban peer-to-peer marketing targeted at children, oppose marketing on company websites aimed at children and “empower” schools to ban advertising and vending machines.The Tories also plan to develop an online system for parents to take action against “irresponsible marketing techniques.”
Now we need some legislative action in the U.S. to give the FTC back its teeth. The Federal Trade Commission once monitored advertising to children. But when, in 1978, the agency attempted to place tough new restrictions on advertising to children under eight years old, the industry fought back. The FTC lost, even though the proposal stood on a strong foundation of research that demonstrated that advertising to young children is inherently deceptive because children under eight to not understand advertising’s persuasive intent. As a result, the FTC currently lacks the authority to issue regulations to restrict advertising to children.