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Don’t Be Lazy Sadiq, Be Inventive

The Influencers 128 Add to collection

INFLUENCER: Therapy's Richard Miles responds to the Mayor of London's ban on junk food ads on Transport for London inventory

Don’t Be Lazy Sadiq, Be Inventive

I’m sorry but am I the only one who rolled my eyes when I read last week that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed junk food ads will now be banned on all Transport for London inventory?

I can’t believe that much has changed since I was a kid that parents no longer teach their children the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. In fact, unless I’m exceptional in my parenting, that’s exactly what happens in our house. Only this morning the first thing my daughter asked to eat was a slice of the cake that was sitting on the worktop. I didn’t remove the cake from view, I just told her she can’t eat cake now, she can have a little this afternoon, when it’s appropriate, explaining that cake for breakfast is not good for us. She’s just three but she still gets it.

Banning adverts just seems like an easy way out but will only paper over the real problem, not fix it. And the real problem is a lack of education. Obesity levels are on the rise not only because of the availability of junk food and the exposure of such foods in advertising, but because our lifestyles have changed significantly in the last 30 years.

Sadiq Khan, if you’re reading this, why not work with advertisers and brands to educate our population and help them make their own informed decisions over the food they consume rather than just flippantly banning everything.

Advertising is the perfect opportunity to speak to people in a powerful and impactful way that will, hopefully, influence their choices forever. By hiding the ads we do nothing to re-educate those people who over-indulge on foods high in sugar and salt about how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

London is home to some of the world’s best creatives, and working to make a pointed solution is in our blood. If we don’t start working together to try and solve the problem all I see for our future is a world where there’s only adverts for water and lettuce as, let’s be brutally honest, most foods can lead to obesity if we consume them in large quantities. Everyone from Oscar Wilde ('Everything in moderation') to our old Joe Wicks ('Eat what you want so long as you’re doing the exercise to match it') subscribe to that view.

I can say with some confidence that most advertisers and brands will be up for working with you. I know I would. Hell, if you’re really up for doing something, I’ll make you an ad for free.

Let’s stop hiding the problem and face it head on together.

Richard Miles is Creative Director at Therapy

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Therapy, Fri, 30 Nov 2018 13:36:34 GMT