Friday 28 November 2014

A matter of principle

David Abbott was a brilliant copywriter. He was also a man of principle when it meant something. Bill Bernbach said: "A principle is not a principle till it costs you money". David refused advertising briefs from Cigarette accounts worth a great deal of money. On principle.

Today the new Advertising chieftains have a wide range of advertising accounts to be principled about.

Take payday loans for instance. Friendly actors try to persuade disadvantaged people that borrowing money at interest rates so bizarrely high that make it look like a typing mistake. And then add arrangement fees and penalties to load the profit pot.

A soft drinks company is to launch a "premiumised" (their word) milk brand with higher protein content and all the lactose removed. Their spokesman adds they will take the sugar down by 30%.  Critics are mystified. Natural milk has no other sugar type than lactose. The implication is this brand will have added sweeteners. If this is their usual additive high fructose corn syrup then the implications are more serious because HFCS has been described as addictive and accused of causing obesity.  

Obesity is now recognised as a greater health risk than smoking ever was. It is a worldwide problem associated with a western style diet of fast and processed meals
loaded with dangerous hydrogenated trans fats, excess sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and salt.

Obesity is linked with the greater incidence of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many types of cancer. Wiser folk watch what they eat and exercise but since obesity is also associated with poverty, many people find that processed food is cheaper and therefore affordable.

These are established truths so why are the food brands not doing something about their ingredients and methods of manufacturing ?

Eventually cost pressures on the NHS will force the Government to do something as they have with payday loans. However politicians act too slowly and the problem will only get worse.

We need more David Abbotts to take a stand against amoral advertisers.

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