Bans don't work
One suggestion to tackle childhood obesity has been to ban outdoor advertising of products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS). But this is ineffective, costly and unpopular.


No evidence has yet been produced to prove that banning outdoor advertising reduces childhood obesity. This is hardly surprising given our sector accounts for just 5% of the whole advertising spend in the UK.



The advertising ban in London has been estimated to cost £35mn that could otherwise have been invested in the transport infrastructure, keeping fares low or on anti-obesity programmes like promoting physical activity in schools or providing better nutritional advice to kids, that are actually known to work.


When voters recognise that the ban is not cost free, but comes with a hefty price tag, polling has shown the public are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea. For instance, 62% of Londoners opposed the ban and just 21% supported it, if it meant fares would have to rise to pay for the £35m price tag.

The implementation of the London ban has also created uncertainty, confusion and complexity that has seen family staples like butter, cheese and jam banned whilst allowing some chicken burgers, nuggets and fries.