Submitted by Jonathan Rosenblum on
"This was spin, and [the food industry] will have to get beyond that and make real changes or they'll get beat up again very soon." Perhaps a line from a nutritionist slamming the Better Business Bureaus' weak new voluntary restrictions on junk food marketing to kids? Instead, it's the president of MGP & Associates Public Relations, Mike Paul. Paul was castigating PR surrounding the "Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative" whose November 14, 2006 signers include McDonald's, Kraft, Pepsi and others. The companies will dedicate new advertising and PR to encourage "healthful lifestyles," among other things. Advertising Age's Stephanie Thompson and Ira Teinowitz point out that the companies already comply with most of the announced standards, which also include promoting products that meet government definitions of "healthy" and restrictions against product placements and licensing of cartoon characters. "Because the announcement was, by design, focused on delivering news of the creation of the initiative...no details were provided to frustrated journalists seeking examples of what real changes the new effort might create," they write. Harvard psychologist and author Susan Linn told the Washington Post "...[The companies'] marketing will be even more confusing for children because it will be linked to 'healthy lifestyle' messages."