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Should certain advertising be banned?

What is advertising?


The act or practice of calling public attention to one's product, service, need, etc

Wider definition

  • Is anything communicated a form of advertising?
  • Is anything publicised advertising?
  • Is word of mouth advertising?
  • Is product placement advertising?
  • How about ideas instead of products, is that advertising?
  • Is advertising freedom of speech?

Types of advertising

  • Word of mouth
  • Billboards
  • Newspaper adverts
  • TV adverts
  • Back of receipts
  • Product placement
  • Internet advertising


Advertising is a form of communication

The case for banning advertising

Whats wrong with advertising?


Nothing is wrong with advertising, its like saying there is something wrong with communicating, or advocating. Its a tool, so neutral, but the content being relayed might have harmful consequences, and so the content can cause wrongs.
However the same rules that apply to advertising should apply to free speech. Whatever one can say legally, they should be able to say to as many people as are willing to listen.

Arguments against types of adverts

  1. The advert might be inappropriate for the audience.
    That being the case, the audience would be unlikely to watch/listen to that show or channel again.
  2. The advert promotes a bad lifestyle
    The viewer isn't passive, the will not take up that lifestyle if they don't want it. A vegetarian won't go to McDonald's just because they see an advert.

The case against banning advertising

Censorship is futile

  • If the item being advertised is so bad, why not just ban the item outright, rather than the advert?
  • Smoking and alcohol ads have been banned, but people still use them.



Who's responsibility is censoring 'bad' things?
Quote 1147

After all, if we actually faced a deceitful practice, the problem should not be found in advertising as an instrument for a fraud, but in the fraud itself. Otherwise, one might as well advocate a ban on cars, since they are often used as getaway vehicles after robberies.

   --  IEA

Are people passive or stupid

Quote 1144

if a person’s will can be bent with such ease, how is it possible to believe that any individual can act freely? Thus, from a political perspective, such a notion is potentially destructive of any representative democratic government.

   --  IEA

2 examples of how effective advertising is.
  • Ridiculous. It just goes to show how stupid the politicians think human beings are. Apparently we are all so passive towards advertising that we will simply do what advertising tells us.
  • "As a man, I find no matter how many bra adverts I watch, I never feel the urge to go out and buy one."

Producer level censoring

  • TV stations already restrict what content is advertised.
  • Advertising is income for the station and they must make decisions all the time about what is acceptable for their viewers. They don't want to alienate viewers. The viewers then decide to tune in or not. 
  • Restricting adverts hurts TV stations as well as advertisers.

Parent or self censoring

  • There are multiple stations, so you can choose one with an advertising policy you agree with.
  • There is always the off button, if you don't like the advertising. TV and Radio is not essential.


Government thinks it is the parent and the citizens are the children.

There was a time when we trusted parents to do the parenting, instead of expecting the government to do it for us.
Parents need to stop expecting everyone else to do their jobs for them 

Is someone going to go into these homes of Parents who want this and hold their hands through every stage of life,this is what Parenting is about,making informed desicions in the interests of your family then putting them into practise.  

Leave the children alone to find out things for themselves, let them make mistakes and learn from them. They spend all of their childhood being told what to do that by they time they are adults they are left on their own with no direction or ambition because you took it away from them.


  • Failure of schooling to educate kids about what they are eating.
  • The problem isn't advertising, its stupidity. When will people learn- don't treat the symptom, treat the cause; the answer is education


If you don't want your kids to be fat then how about getting of your own fat backside and taking them out for a game of football rather ban adverts on food.

If advertising is not banned, should advertisers be forced to give a balanced picture, such as declaring the calories on food adverts?

Whats next

As with book burning in China and Nazi Germany, censorship is only the beginning, what follows is the next step.
  • After banning adverts, because they are bad, will they then ban word of mouth?
  • How about banning pictures on news articles or internet searches?
  • How about banning cooking shows with junk food on?
  • Ban on models that are too skinny by setting a minimum body mass
  • Disclosures if an image is airbrushed.

The principle is the same, the message does harm, ban the message.
Restricting advertising is eventually a restriction on free speech.



Link2Ban on junk food advertising  (also referenced in the Banned food section)