The government released new details today of a study on their impending bonkers ad ban, which, despite all previous evidence that such illiberal clampdowns don’t work, they hoped would justify the move. The government’s own research suggests an ad ban will reduce children’s calories consumption by just 2.8 calories per day.
2.8 calories per day per child would – assuming no exercise – add 1 pound per three and a half years – and all for the destruction of thousands of small and medium businesses, and depressing the advertising industry. Not only is a 2.8 calorie reduction pathetic, the ASI’s Matthew Lesh points out even this is likely to be an exaggeration:
“The review that the Government’s calculations are based on – Viner et. al (2019) – does not contain any studies that simulate a realistic environment in which children are exposed to ‘junk food’ advertisements. In all of the 11 studies included, children were allowed to consume an unlimited quantity of food at no cost and none featured parental supervision.”
The government’s figures also calculate the advertising market – for what Whitehall refers to as “high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS)” – is £438 million (59% of the total online food and drink advertising market) with a hit to online platforms of £271 million per year.
With around 11 million children from 5–18, the UK government is set to sacrifice £813 million of online advertising revenue in return for one pound lost per child. Turns out this weight loss malarkey isn’t as easy as just taking candy from a baby…