Understandably feeling persecuted by developments like the recent subpoena of several Big Food companies for information about their advertising practices, the food advertising industry may be feeling a bit defensive. Nobody wants to be a scapegoat. But an editorial in Adweek goes a bit too far in trying to take the blame for kids’ weight problems off the food and advertising industries.
Paul Kurnit may be right when he says that the obesity problem is complex and multidimensional, but other comments, like “Advertising informs children about food and beverage brand options, but it does not proscribe quantity or calorie content kids consume,” seem disingenuous at best, while his statements lauding the industry’s “self-regulation” and decrying “saber-rattling lawsuits” sound like they’ve been issued from the pen of the toxic Center for Consumer Freedom.
Most tellingly, Kurnit—whose bio notes he is the president of KidShop, a “youth focused marketing and communications company”—suggests that instead of limiting advertising for unhealthy foods we need to spend more on advertising healthy foods and exercise.
Yep, that’s the ticket: more advertising-revenue-generating PSAs, less corporate regulation.