Summary of Document
The file contains minutes from 64 meetings of the Advertising Advisory Committee of the ITA/IBA between the years 1955 and 1979. The minutes cover a wide range of topics discussed. Examples include drink advertisements, clinical trials, television advertising compared with other media, football, tobacco advertising, control of advertising content, consumer council representation, financial advertising and family planning.
The first meeting was held on 14/1/1955 at the Arts council, 4 St. James’ Square. At this meeting the committee elected an acting chairman, Mr Bevan. The committee decided that the advertising of medicines was to be accepted providing that they complied with the British code of standards. The committee also decided that there should be no prohibition of any kind when advertising alcohol. There was also a suggestion that that betting advertisements, such as football pools, should be prohibited at first. The topic should then be reviewed at future meetings. The second meeting of this committee was held on 28/1/1955 where the chairman announced that there had been lots of nominations for further representation on the committee and that it was the authority’s decision who was appointed. They then discussed the different nominations from different advertising sectors. The acting chairman drew the committee’s attention to the question of mail order and the problems attached to it. The committee also discussed the visual representation of doctors. Mr Pope recommended the banning of the appearance of doctors, dentist, midwifes etc. in connection with the advertising of medicines. However in the end the committee did not adopt this policy. The last meeting of the year, 10/11/1955, began with talking about toothpaste advertisements. Mr Stewart Ross argued that it was wrong that Colgate should claim that their product acted as complete protection against decay as they could not sustain the claim. The discussion about this issue continues for over a page. The committee finally agreed that 2 points from Colgate’s advertising script not to be allowed.
The first meeting of the year 1964 discussed the use of slogans in medical advertising and the possibilities of misinterpretation. They agreed on guidelines to avoid this problem. Another issue discussed at this meeting was the subject of cigarette advertising. The minutes say that the topic was discussed in a meeting in 1962 and a paper was written. This paper suggested that the decision to ban cigarette advertising was really a matter for the government to decide. Since the paper was written there was growing evidence for the health risks of smoking, so the matter was brought up at this meeting. A decision needed to be made as to whether the committee should decline the cigarette advertising. They agreed to obtain copies of the American report on the issue before coming to a decision. The topic was such an important one that the committee arranged a special meeting to discuss these matters on 6/2/1964. In this special meeting the committee commented on the American report. They discovered in the report the difference of mortality between smokers and non-smokers. It states the diseases found most commonly in smokers, such as lung cancer. The committee seemed to be against the idea of banning cigarette advertising. Ideas were brought forward as to whether a warning should be indicated in advertising as banning cigarette advertising would be unrealistic. Some thought that an advertising ban on television would not affect the sales of cigarettes. A minority of the committee were in favour of the ban. The committee decided not to recommend a ban and agreed to convey this to the authority. The committee decided to meet again on the 1/5/1964 to discuss the consideration of alternative method of discouraging cigarette smoke. In this meeting the committee they decided to amend the code of practice by adding rules on cigarette advertising including people smoking in adverts should appear to be over 25 years of age. They also decided that adverts should carry some warning of the dangers of smoking and cigarette advertising should be restricted to brand name and price only. There would also be a broadcast discussion program “The Enemies within” about cancer and smoking that was aired 4\05\1964.
This file will be extremely useful for a research who is interested in television advertising policy. The file is very detailed and the minutes are documented thoroughly. Everyone in the meetings including the secretary was a male. The language of the documents is extremely formal.