Food advertising and self-regulation: A view from the trenches
Version of Record online: 10 JUN 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2008 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 32, Issue 3, pages 261–265, June 2008
How to Cite
Hoek, J. and King, B. (2008), Food advertising and self-regulation: A view from the trenches. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 32: 261–265. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00226.x
- Issue online: 10 JUN 2008
- Version of Record online: 10 JUN 2008
- Submitted: January 2008 Revision Requested: April 2008 Accepted: April 2008
- public policy;
Objective: This study assessed the logic of arguments advanced when the New Zealand advertising self-regulation complaints board adjudicated a complaint about a food product; in addition, it compared these arguments and the complainant's experience of the process to international best practice criteria relating to independence.
Methods: Documents relating to a complaint about chicken nuggets were analysed. Shuy's logical framework was used to analyse the arguments advanced; the case was subsequently compared to the best practice criteria advanced in the Madelin (2006) report.
Results: Even a well-informed and expert complainant found the system difficult to use and biased in favour of the advertiser. Analysis of rhetorical strategies used to respond to the complaint reveal use of fallacious reasoning, including ad hominem, to which the complainant was unable to respond.
Conclusions: In the case reviewed, the New Zealand self-regulatory system did not meet the level of openness, independence or transparency that the complainant expected and that are listed as “best practice” criteria in the Madelin Report. A regulatory system run by a government agency could afford greater protection to complainants and consumers and offer a more balanced adjudication process.
Implications: As the prevalence of obesity increases, governments are examining how effectively regulation controls marketing activities that encourage consumption of energy dense, nutrient poor foods. This paper raises timely and important questions about the balance and fairness of self-regulation as experienced by a complainant.