Have you ever heard of CONANDA? For those of you who answered that it was America’s neighbour to the North, you’re an idiot.
CONANDA is actually The Brazilian Ministry of Human Rights’ Council of Rights of Children and Teenagers, which earlier this month issued a resolution effectively banning all advertising to children under age 12 and imposing restrictions on campaigns aimed at 12- to 18-year-olds.
Resolution #163 provides that any marketing communication to children under 12 years old is abusive, unless it falls under one of the narrow exceptions to the Resolution, namely campaigns aimed at educating children about good nutrition, safety, education, health and other aspects of children’s social development.
Congressman Luiz Carlos Hauly, proponent of the bill, regards advertising to children as abusive because it is “a coercion or extortion”of children, who would be compelled to buy products that are “unnecessary, superfluous and sometimes even harmful.” Also, in his opinion, these products would be usually incompatible with the average Brazilian family income.
But seriously, tell us what you really think!
Congressman Hauly is not really wrong, is he? He’s talking about Ronald McDonald, Happy Meals and childhood obesity – or these days, Apple’s steps to curb “in-app purchases” from children who are bankrupting their parents on games like Temple Run, Clash of Clans or FIFA (actually, that’s just my household).
This is not the first time Brazil has taken major steps toward imposing a ‘tax’ on advertising. In September 2006, the mayor of Sao Paulo passed a Clean City Law, which essentially outlawed all outdoor advertising. 15 000 ads had to be removed, and store signs had to be shrunken down.
In the past, we’ve seen countries like Turkey ban alcohol advertising completely or severe restrictions on tobacco advertising, like in the good old US and A, but never before have we seen a preemptive strike against an entire category like in Brazil.
So why should you care?
For starters, our beautiful, innocent and naïve young children are the only hope left for the old, tired and battered warhorse that is advertising. Milliennials flat out reject advertising. And the rest of the aging population, which has grown up with advertising as a part of their lives, might have a higher tolerance than most due to their cultural comfort, but at the same time, they’re also not getting any younger.
Our children have a better connection with advertising because Chia pets, Ninjago and Disneyland are all more relevant to them… but this too shall pass. And when Burger King, Spinmaster and Nickelodeon are replaced with Pfizer, Ford and KFC, it’s pretty much game over.
This is all part of embracing our marketing ‘heresy’, a concept I learned from author Andrew Winston. At its core, this is #zeropaidmedia at its most fundamental basis, namely the idea of preparing and planning for a world where advertising is not a right, but a privilege; a necessary evil; a luxury tax.
Ultimately, when it comes to innovation and taking on that which we fear most, we have two choices: take the first proactive step ourselves, or wait for the disruption to come to us — and when it does, we’ll reluctantly be dragged, kicking and screaming into the belly of the beast.
Doesn’t sound like too difficult a choice at all.
Before soda cans are banned from schools (oh, crap, that already happened), calorie counts become law in every fast-food outlet (ditto, at least in NYC), I’d submit that it’s time to embrace your heresy and triangulate your plan from there on end:
- If you’re in the newspaper industry, what if you gave away your paper for free – and still nobody wanted it? What would you do then?
- If you’re a beer brand in the US, how long before alcohol advertising is banned, as in Turkey? What would you do with all that money?
And if you’re a big, mighty brand, how long before your lack of innovation, speed to market, openness to experimentation and/or tolerance for risk becomes your albatross or nemesis? Please refer to Uber, Airbnb, Dollar Shave Club, Zipcar of Coin for more information and context.
“Amor Fati – ‘Love Your Fate,’ which is in fact your life.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
This post was first published on MediaPost.com. Joseph Jaffe is founder and CEO of Evol8tion, an innovation agency that matches early stage start-ups with blue-chip brands. Follow him on Twitter @jaffejuice
IMAGE: Wikimedia Creative Commons