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

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

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.’