Blog post

Leave Our Kids Alone

Yesterday saw the launch of the campaign Leave Our Kids Alone, with a letter in The Telegraph, and articles in the Daily Mail and The Guardian. This campaign grapples with what must surely be one of the most important common causes around which third sector organisations, irrespective of the issues upon which they work, should be galvanised: the problem of advertising aimed at our children.

Kids on TV

Since our publication of Think of Me as Evil? Opening the Ethical Debates in Advertising in 2011, further evidence has accumulated that repeatedly viewing advertisements serves to undermine care for other people and the natural world. And yet we continue to bombard our children, in their formative years, with them.

No proper response to today’s pressing social and environmental challenges can be foreseen unless we find ways to broaden and deepen our collective concern about these issues. And yet the available evidence suggests that advertising works in precisely the opposite direction.

It makes little difference whether you lie awake worrying about biodiversity loss or climate change, discrimination against disabled people or human rights abuses; you need to support this campaign.

Tom Crompton

About Tom Crompton

I'm Change Strategist at WWF-UK. For five years I headed WWF-International's Trade and Investment Programme (working on World Trade Organization issues, for example). While I was (and still am) convinced that international trade policy is crucially important in sustainability terms, I was frustrated by the glacial pace of change on this agenda - and the fact that even those trade negotiators I got to know who were personally quite 'radical' nonetheless felt impotent in a system where there was so little political space to pursue the changes that are needed. This led me to ask how organisations like WWF might begin to work to help create the political space for more ambitious change. What leads to more vocal expressions of public concern about sustainability issues? What motivates people to bring more pressure to bear on their elected leaders? These questions led to work with social psychologists and political scientists, and the publication of a series of reports: "Weathercocks and Signposts: the environment movement at a crossroads" (2008); "Simple and Painless? The limitations of spillover in environmental campaigning" (with John Thogersen, 2008), and "Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity" (with Tim Kasser, 2009). These pieces of work culminated naturally in our new report, "Common Cause".
  • Charlie_Mansell

    It makes sense to bring in restrictions on things such as television and newsprint advertising to under 11s. I wonder with internet advertising how hard this will be to enforce online? I would also imagine in response to this advertisers will increase their resources to advertising to ‘parents’ as a segment, such as through increased sponsorship. This is why any ‘ban’ for a specific age group should also be complemented by social marketing to promote, for example, wellebing and healthy living to age groups above that. The new ringfenced public health service as part of local government provides an opportunity for more consistently applied ethical alternative marketing approaches that seek to match and challenge traditional commercial advertising