Have You #AdEnough Of Junk Food Marketing?

Jamie Oliver's New Campaign

Have you #AdEnough of junk food marketing aimed at kids?

Jamie Oliver has. His latest health food campaign is to limit junk food adverts aimed at kids.

He explains it like this:

Hi guys, Jamie here. I want to tell you about my campaign to protect kids from junk food marketing – and explain why I believe it really matters.

The premise is that kids are "bombarded, day-in, day-out, with adverts for food and drink products that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt" – and doing something about that is Jamie's latest crusade.

He reckons ads online, on TV, on the streets and "all over public transport" target kids with "cheap, easily accessible, unhealthy junk food". He also argues that banning those ads would make it easier for kids to make better, healthier food choices.

Consequently, Jamie wants the government to put a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV. He's also calling for "proper controls" on what ads kids see online, in the street and on public transport when it comes to food advertising. And all of this is on the basis that junk food marketing undermines the efforts of parents and schools to tackle the rise of childhood obesity.

Jamie is urging people to show their support by posting an image of themselves covering their eyes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #AdEnough

I'm a Jamie fan – his campaign to stop energy drinks being sold to children was pure dead brilliant and I'm pretty pleased that my kids don't have to chow down on Turkey Twizzlers when they opt for school dinners.

His passion for tackling childhood obesity and his capacity to create compelling healthy eating campaigns is admirable. There's no denying that being a father of five informs his interest in encouraging healthy eating among kids.

All that said, I've got to admit that I've already had enough of #AdEnough. It feels to me like this campaign falls wide of the mark. Taking unhealthy trash off school dinner menus and limiting the ease with which kids can buy horrifically unhealthy drinks is one thing, but isn't it my job, as a parent, to engage with my kids over how they're affected by junk food advertising?

No-one's going to argue FOR junk food marketing aimed at kids – I'm not saying Jamie hasn't got a point. But the idea that ads promoting junk food are the problem makes little sense to me. I'm the one that orders Dominos, gives in (or doesn't) to pester power, or buys "those Nutella bars off the telly" – not my kids.

It's my job as a mum to help my kids make healthy food choices, and debating the nutritional value of a bowl of porridge over breakfast cereal with as much sugar as a handful of biscuits is part of that.

I'm more concerned about the inappropriate content that's freely available to my kids via social media and smart phones than I am about the junk food adverts they might see on telly. I don't even think my kids see all that much advertising these days. What makes a bigger difference to them is the food they see me eating, or the stuff their mates have in their lunchboxes.

Kids are clever cookies (no pun intended). I think educating them to decipher and decode marketing messages and to make healthy, informed choices is much more important than simply 'hiding' junk food advertising from them.

And plenty of kids watch TV past 9pm anyway – I say this as the mother of an impressionable teenager – so I'm not sure this will have that much effect. And they'll grow up eventually – how will they react to junk food ads as adults if we've just swept them under the carpet when they were kids?

What's next? Banning adverts for toys? Kids who don't watch TV past 9pm aren't the ones buying junk food anyway. Their parents are. Getting them to spend half an hour faffing around with selfies to boost Jamie's social media reach seems pointless – why not spend that half hour playing outside with your kid instead of worrying about the impact of a McDonalds advert. Until someone invents the tech to enable ordering a Big Mac via the TV remote, (now THERE'S an idea) I don't think adverts are the problem.

How about challenging food manufacturers or subsidising healthier foods?

The cynic in me can't help feeling that this is all an effort to boost Jamie's brand – which he's entitled to do, of course. But I'm beginning to feel like I've had enough of #AdEnough already.

24 comments

  • Arlene R.

    Terrible idea!! Censoring what they see won’t solve the issue. Kids need to be taught about healthy eating/cooking from scratch from an early age. And this has to happen in schools as not all parents are doing this. Young kids don’t choose what food their parents buy for them so what good will this really do.

    • Kirsteen B.

      I agree to a certain extent, it is up to the parents and also early education on making good choices. But this accounts for our conscious, deliberate choices. We also have subconscious, impulse actions which are driven by prompts in the environment like advertising. Education and parental control play a part but don't stop unhealthy behaviours in themselves.

  • Joanne J.

    Junk Food advertising should be restricted for all ages not just the kids, kids follow their parents, or other adult ?mentors, examples. Using the schools to teach your kids the basics of life is just lazy parenting. If you can't do it then learn, there are YouTube videos to show you how to grow, prepare and cook decent food. All it takes 1 step in the right direction.

    • Arlene R.

      The problem is that there are parents out there who have no inclination to change their bad habits and are happy for their kids to do the same. So instead of censoring what kids see, Jamie Oliver and the likes should be campaigning for (and maybe even helping fund) better education around healthy eating and cooking skills.

  • Louise M.

    Yeah they won’t see it on tv but when they walk into tescos and see an aisle of biscuits and chocolates they’ll go crazy lol

  • Carol B.

    I've stopped following him ... I dont need the sugar police ... I have a brain!

  • Jane D.

    I don't follow him any more who does he think he his he should concentrate on his own family let the parents look after there's

    • Daisy D.

      Yea. Who the heeeelll does he think he is trying to do the best for his family and all our families, how dare he have my families best interest at heart. What a tosser.

    • Marc A.

      I used to work with local councils on school dinners and saw kids being sent to school for the day with a cold Big Mac and a can on Red Bull in their lunchbox. I think it's fair to say some parents need a little bit of guidance.

    • Kirsteen B.

      The problem with letting parents do whatever they want with their kids is evidenced in the obesity crisis and the massive strain placed on the NHS by preventable health conditions. There are far too many obese children. You're thinking that you do the best for your kids and don't need someone telling you what to do. That's fair enough. But some others aren't doing the best, more likely due to poor education and support around healthy eating rather than intentionally, and they clearly do need campaigns in place to make it easier for them. If your kids are healthy, it shouldn't offend you it just won't affect you at all if there are steps being taken to encourage other kids to be healthier as well.

  • Lynsey F.

    Wish jamie oliver would disappear into his perfect world

  • Ruth E.

    Couldn’t agree with him more, marketing make its seems the norm or that’s its ok on a regular basis... #AdEnough

  • Grace A.

    Jamie Oliver needs to wind his neck in.

  • Rachel B.

    Shame he doesn’t follow the same junk food rules in his restaurants. Had awful meal there recently and they don’t even serve salad or veg with the kids meals anymore.

  • Ej B.

    I actually love that he is using his voice a d influence the media. As parents it’s difficult enough to keep kids right without peer pressures and marketing hearing them towards junk food

  • Donna C.

    It’s ok for these celebs who can afford all this fresh fancy food but junk food is cheap! This is why kids eat it cause there’s so many parents who can’t afford to buy fresh healthy foods everyday!

    • Caroline D.

      That is nonsense. A banana is cheaper than a bag of crisps or bar of chocolate. You can get a full bag of carrots in Lidl for 47p so i don't accept the argument that junk food is cheaper. If you want to eat healthily on a budget you can

  • Marianne M.

    I also teach my kids about advertising and how that works and how things aren't always as they seem. :information_desk_person:

    • Helen C.

      I had that chat with my 5 year old after he said he wanted some Thomas toy which looked very exciting on the advert but you could tell it wouldn't be in reality

  • Jennie B.

    Will never forgive him for getting rid of the turkey twizzler

  • Nic T.

    Yes its our job as a parent to make sure I kids eat a balanced diet. Dosent matter if you take the ad away it's still there and we have to say no. His not my favourite person after the sugar tax on drinks I can't have sweeteners and my youngest usually drink water but Ribena was my treat but because of the tax the have taken sugar out and replaced it wit sweeteners grrrr and no I don't drink coke or any fizzy drinks

  • Lauren M.

    He hasn’t had much publicity or attention for a while so this is what he’s doing to get a bit... definitely a parents job

  • Deborah A.

    I dont know how i feel about the adds but ive been moaning about the tous in happy meals for years i dont know why thats aloud i dont understand the heavy advertising of the carrot stick option.... surely your kids souldnt be eating in there often enough for you to worry about the lack of nutrients in the fries... occasional treat surely... i get that parents are busy and life is hectic god knows ive been stood in that que thinking yikes we really shouldnt be eating in here again but its right to feel like that like something has to change this week we cant possibly eat any more rubbish this week its an informed descision by me i will pass on to the kids we need to eat healthier the rest of the week make a joke out of it or something. What doesnt sit comfy with me is mavdonalds basically saying come on in dont feel bad its the 3rd time in a fortnight maybe even the 4th look look have a carrot stick were a healthy life choice ooh oooh and give the little gullible one another toy with our logo on it #makingmemories

  • Dani W.

    I think people should be trusted to use their own brains and to educate their children to not be brainwashed by advertising/recognise healthy eating habits. This is a bit nanny state for me

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