Claire Beale on advertising

The future's bleak - if the moral minorities get their way, that is

How highly appropriate that a year dominated by threats to advertising freedoms should end with another jab to adland's underbelly.

Yep, the year of the junk-food ad ban is going out with a last-minute punch at advertising to children, setting the stage for round two of the adland versus moral minority fight-to-the-death. You'll remember the recent ruling outlawing the advertising of unhealthy foods to our little ones on TV; even those little ones that are old enough to legally have sex are to be shielded from the evils of the hamburger.

But if you thought such madness must surely stop there, think again. Now advertising is under fire for grooming our innocents for a lifetime of consumerism.

According to the left-wing think-tank Compass, advertising is breeding a generation of stressed-out, unconfident kids whose value systems are determined by the appearances and possessions portrayed in ads.

From product placement, to merchandising, text messaging, internet pop-ups, gaming, competitions and good old-fashioned between-the-eyes advertising, kids cannot escape commercial messages, Compass says. In fact, they reckon that UK children see an average 20,000-40,000 television ads a year, and by the age of 10 children can recall 300-400 brands. That's 20 times the number of wild birds they can name. It may be a ridiculous comparison, but doesn't it make you feel a tiny bit uncomfortable? My favourite stat, though, is Compass's statement that 70 per cent of three-year-olds recognise the McDonald's symbol, but only half of them know their own surname.

Compass couldn't have picked a better time of year to launch their "commercialisation of childhood campaign". Who can dispute their insistence that "Marketers are coming up with ever more ingenious methods to infuse children's lives with advertising messages". It's Christmas, for heaven's sake. Adland hasn't got a leg to stand on. Is there a child in the land who hasn't been studying the ad breaks on TV, letter to Santa in hand?

A few years ago, none of this would have mattered. Compass's campaign would have been dismissed as the rantings of a PC minority, and the proliferation of ads for toys would have been a sign of a healthy consumer economy in the run-up to the year's busiest marketing period. But in the year that advertising junk food to children was banned from our TV screens, any fresh assault on marketing has chilling implications. Be in no doubt, the pressure on all forms of advertising will gather pace, and adland must strengthen its defence. The thin end of the wedge has already gone.

IF ADVERTISING regulation, and the threat of more to come, has been a dramatic black cloud over adland's 2006, there have still been plenty of highs that should send the industry off on holiday with real confidence for the challenges ahead.

Here, then, are my picks of the year: the stuff that should make everyone in this business proud to do what they do.

Some great ads: Fallon's "Paint" for Sony Bravia (not as good as "Balls"? Still the best ad of the year, any which way). The Marks & Spencer campaign by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R, great for M&S (food sales up 9.2 per cent, clothes up 190.7 per cent) and great for an ad industry desperate to prove the value of what it does.

The DDB Harvey Nichols campaign, perfect collision of style and substance. Saatchi & Saatchi's "pub football team" for Carlsberg, not necessarily the best World Cup ad ever, but a damn fine try (and if you haven't seen the full-length version, check it out on YouTube). And Nike's St Wayne poster by Wieden & Kennedy, featuring the man himself, daubed with white and red paint, as the St George's cross.

The Boots ads by Mother, beautiful films for a shabby store. W&K Amsterdam's "vending machine fantasy" for Coke, just magical. The WCRS 3 ads, as weird and luscious as ever. Dare's "blow" online ad for Lynx, taking sexy to a digital dimension.

Some great talent: the Mother team, 10 years old and still fresh and exciting. The Engine group, could Peter Scott have found the new communications model? Fallon, great thinkers (Lawrence Green), great creatives (the soon to be disbanded creative leadership of Andy McLeod and Richard Flintham) and the ringmasters Michael Wall and Robert Senior, whose enthusiasm is infectious.

(Trevor) Beattie, (Andrew) McGuinness and (Bil) Bungay, last year's start-up team that turned in a great performance this year (the gauntlet for 2007: more great work). James Murphy and the RKCR/Y&R crew for creating that rarest of beasts: a great creative and new business machine that also happens to be part of an international network.

And some excitingly dramatic events: my predecessor in this column slot, Stefano Hatfield, kick-starting the free newspaper war with the launch of thelondonpaper. Robert Campbell and Jim Kelly joining forces at United - it might not have worked so far, but now there's the chance to start again and shape their own agency. United's Steve Henry was drafted in to help resuscitate TBWA: expect much furious blowing in 2007.

Talking of United, the Sky creative pitch saw the £75 million account slip through Sir Martin Sorrell's fingers and into WCRS. The rebranding of Ogilvy & Mather as two shops, Mather Communications being the new, lean outfit; expect more from the mighty Ogilvy group next year... Has the giant awoken?

Garry Lace being suspended from, and then leaving, Lowe under a career-defining cloud; Amanda Walsh accepting the Lowe chalice and putting her career on the line in doing so. M&C Saatchi's Nick Hurrell and TBWA's Neil Dawson getting the entrepreneurial bug and starting up what they claim will be the agency approach of the future. WCRS parting with Stephen Woodford, who wants to do an Engine at DDB, but instead has been sitting in his garden for months. Draft and FCB merging to create a hybrid that sounds like it should be an interesting model for the future, but so far feels identity-less.

And all this against a backdrop of client conservatism, the digital revolution and a real sense that adland is on the brink of fundamental, irreversible change.

It's been a busy 12 months, and 2007 is set to be even busier. Happy Christmas.

BEALE'S BEST IN SHOW: COI SEXUAL HEALTH

'Tis the season to cop off, as any singleton knows. But as the UK's sexy young things iron their Calvins and pile on the war paint for a bit of Yuletide action, the Department of Health is on a condom offensive.

A new multi-media campaign by Delaney Lund Knox Warren and Grand Union aims to cut the rate of sexually transmitted infections among 18- to 24-year-olds. It's all built around the idea of steamy sex, punctuated by reminders of all the nasty diseases that can be caught if the bloke goes in unjacketed.

So the TV ad has a randy couple canoodling in a bar. They end up in bed together, but the brand labels in their discarded clothes aren't fashion labels - they're the names of STDs. Online there are skyscraper ads with a pair of sexy legs and the invitation to "roll over to see what I've got". The woman then spreads her legs to reveal the word gonorrhoea emblazoned across her knickers.

It's an effective ad - at first viewing, anyway - because you're expecting some high fashion or perfume brand to be paraded, so there's a real shock value to the reveal. And with the seasonal heady concoction of booze and flirtation, the scenarios portrayed are top of many young people's Christmas wish list. I suspect, however, that an awful lot of the target market have little idea what gonorrhoea is or what's it's like, so the fear factor is not as great as it should be.

Even so, the ads make it pretty clear that the steamy clinch under the mistletoe could result in one Christmas present you really don't want. You have been warned.

Claire Beale is editor of 'Campaign'.

claire.beale@haymarket.com

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition