Former DMA Agencies Council chair Chris Arnold is throwing his weight behind a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation which threatens to expose how some brands are flouting advertising rules to promote “junk foods”.
The one-time Saatch & Saatchi creative director founded agency Creative Orchestra in 2009. And he is regularly called upon as a “marketing expert” for TV shows; he was last seen on Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped trying to demystify the low-fat food market.
As part of the Dispatches programme – due to be broadcast on Monday – his agency created the concept of a high-sugar drink called Orange Beast (based on the original Sunny Delight), to see if any digital agencies would take on the task of promoting it to young children through gaming and social media.
A preview of the show states: “Do you know when an advert is really an advert? Can you be sure that the game you’re playing isn’t trying to make you buy something?”
And although there are no details about whether any digital agencies did take the bait, it is almost a foregone conclusion that some did, otherwise the programme – “Tricks of the Junk Food Business” – would be something of a damp squib.
Arnold said: “I think that marketing to children is an area that the industry must take seriously. Brands need to be socially responsible, it’s no good talking about how ethical your brand is if your marketing department is using techniques like gaming to sell kids products that are fundamentally wrong for them.”
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