MK YIFAT SHASHA-BITON, chairwoman of the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, signs an agreement for responsibility in advertising yesterday at the annual Marketing Conference for Children and Young Adults in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An agreement to regulate Israeli advertising targeted toward youth was signed on Monday by members of the advertising industry together with national youth organizations.
The initiative, which aims to protect youth from harmful and misleading advertisements, was spearheaded by Kulanu MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, chairwoman of the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Rights of the Child.
The agreement was months in the making, and was signed at the annual Marketing Conference for Children and Young Adults in Tel Aviv.
Partnering in the initiative were advertising and content agency Teenk, the Israel Marketing Association, and representatives of the National Union of Israeli Students and the National Youth Movement, all of whom signed the agreement at the conference.
The agreement addresses a number of problems designated by the co-signers as damaging to Israeli youth, including exposing children to excessive violence, physical and verbal abuse, and encouraging anti-social behavior.
In addition, the agreement states that advertisers must promote a healthy lifestyle by not encouraging children or teenagers to consume intoxicants or cigarettes, nor to partake in gambling. Advertisements must also avoid encouraging children and teenagers to consume excessive amounts of food high in salt, sugar and fat. “Sexism, homophobia, racism and use of cultural stereotyping will not be tolerated,” reads the agreement. “The language of the advertisement will be a standard language, as long as it does not include profanity.”
Instead, the agreement suggests positive values that can be promoted in youth-oriented advertisements: “Commercials and advertisements should make an effort to promote values relevant to children, including friendship, generosity, integrity, justice and respect for others, and will refrain from publishing offensive messages that are defined as potentially damaging to one or more groups.”
According to Shasha-Biton, “The world of advertising and marketing has presented us with many challenges, particularly to children and teenagers. As chairwoman of the Committee on Children’s Rights, I chose to follow a different path. Rather than go through legislation, which I believe will not have achieved anything, we embarked on a mission together in which we examined what we have to work with and where we want to go. “The agreement is the product of months of hard work and undoubtedly proves that in the advertising and marketing world, it is possible to appeal to target audiences and to make profits, but also to introduce positive elements and educational and valuable messages.”
When asked whether the agreement constitutes a form of censorship, Shasha-Biton said: “I understand we have to consider the interests of the companies advertising their products, but at the end of the day, I am convinced that through promoting more positive advertising, the results will benefit everyone involved.”