Now Boris comes out in support of sugary ads – we think

If, as expected, we get Boris Johnson as the next UK prime minister (possibly only for a week or so but we’ll see) there may be a reprieve for sugary drinks manufacturers and their handmaidens (ad and media agencies) as he’s threatening to row back on what he calls ‘sin taxes.’

Even though Blond Ambition was a keen supporter of these as Mayor of London. But as Keynes, who was possibly more intellectually rigorous than BJ, said, “when the facts change I change my mind.”

Have the facts changed? Sugary drinks and the like are said to be a leading cause of obesity, itself the subject of a controversial new outdoor campaign from Cancer Research UK. But a higher proportion of junk food and drink is thought to be consumed by the poor people in society and their children. Nobody quite knows why: these things aren’t cheap. A lack of education? Deep waters..

Anyway, Boris’ new theory (or that of his advisers) is that such sin taxes hurt poorer people the most, therefore they’re a bad thing. Persuasion is a much more equable way of trying persuade people that too much sugar/alcohol is bad for them. This, not surprisingly, is a view shared by most of the ad industry, at least when it’s wearing its business hat.

So maybe the ad industry in all its guises should be backing Boris.

If there’s a consistent strand to our likely future prime minister is that he’s a libertarian – and not just in his colourful private life. That, presumably, is the reason for his late conversion to Brexit – he doesn’t like being bossed around by the European Commission, Germany and France.

So, therefore, Boris to roll back the nanny state and boost adverts. A poser for those in business who instinctively feel that the only thing worse than Boris is Trump.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.