Labour slams 'grossly irresponsible' use of cartoons on sugary cereals

Keiligh Baker's picture

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson has today urged the advertising industry to stop using cartoons on sugar-laden products aimed at children.

The MP attended an Advertising Association (AA) event this morning and accused companies who use colourful comics on their high-sugar products of being “grossly irresponsible” and driving childhood obesity.

He said that a Labour government would take a much stricter stance on the use of such advertising techniques.

It could mean a ban on charachters like Tony the Tiger, whose catchphrase ‘They’re grrreat’ has been used to promote Kellogg’s Frosties for nearly 70 years.

Other brands that would be affected by such a ban would include Coco Pops' Coco the Monkey, the Nesquik bunny, the Honey Monster on Puffs - formerly known as Sugar Puffs, Mark’s and Spencer’s Percy Pig sweet range, the Milky Bar kid and the M&M’s characters.

He said: "We are now a nation overweight, unhealthy and addicted to sugar - thanks in large part to the efforts of the advertising industry. Sugar isn’t just rotting our insides, it’s rotting our teeth.

"With child obesity at crisis levels, with a child having a rotten tooth removed every ten minutes, with teenage type 2 diabetes rising, we’ve got to call time on irresponsible advertising of unhealthy sugar-laden products."

He added that Labour would change the rules by tightening the code set by the Advertising Standards Authority.

‘As politicians and policymakers we are saying: Get that monkey off your pack. If the industry won’t reform itself, we will do it for you.’