Agenda item

Advertising and Sponsorship Policy

This paper seeks approval to take to Cabinet proposed revisions to the Council’s Advertising and Sponsorship policy which take positive steps to support the improvement of the health and wellbeing of Medway residents and our climate agenda.




The Head of Communications and Marketing introduced the report, she informed the Committee that the changes to the policy reflected the Council priorities to improve health and wellbeing for residents and to support the Council’s Climate Change agenda.


The Head of Communications and Marketing explained that health was a key priority for the Council, the amended policy proposed to restrict advertising and sponsorship for products which were high in salt, fat and sugar. This policy had been implemented by Transport for London (TfL) several years ago with no reduction in income, indeed the experience at TFL had seen an increase in revenue.


The Head of Communications and Marketing added that the policy did not prevent the Council working with a business but would require it to swap out unhealthy products in any advertising or sponsorship for healthier options.


The second area was to restrict advertising and sponsorship in relation to high carbon products, again this would not prevent the Council from working with businesses, but the Council would require companies to highlight products that produced a lower carbon footprint, for example, a car company would be asked to advertise an electric vehicle rather than a diesel or petrol car.


The following issues were discussed:


Other local authority practice - in response to a question whether this policy had been pursued by other authorities besides TfL and what was their experience, Head of Health and Wellbeing Services informed the Committee around 10 other authorities had also made this change such as Brighton and Merton.


Low Carbon Emissions – a Member commented that they were concerned the transition to electric vehicles was a long-term process and a decision to restrict advertising and sponsorship for carbon emissions may adversely affect local car sales.


A Member expressed concern that the local bus companies work with the Council where the stock used was highly polluting. The Head of Communications and Marketing stated the emissions levels from bus companies would be a matter for the regeneration department and undertook to raise the issue with officers outside of the meeting.


A Member commented that a restriction on advertising products with high carbon emissions would have no impact in comparison to the emissions levels elsewhere.


High fat, sugar and salt - a Member commented that the proposal was helpful but the Council would need to collaborate with supermarkets to see significant change. Head of Health and Wellbeing Services informed the Committee that Medway had amongst the lowest rate of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in the country at below 25%, the aim was to normalise healthy eating options. Although the impact would be small, it would have a ripple effect in the community and the Council priorities and values would be reflected in its policies.


Electronic advertising boarding – further information was requested regarding the Council’s view on the use of electronic advertising boards. The Head of Communications and Marketing informed the Committee that there was a small number of digital advertising boards in Medway, they were effective, but it did contribute to the Council’s carbon footprint. The Council had not invested in expanding their use further.


Language - a Member commented that the changes to the policy were positive, however, the language used was negative and it would be helpful to consider the use of more positive language such as the Council had a positive approach to advertising and sponsorship of healthy eating choices and low carbon emitting products. The Head of Communications and Marketing thanked the Member for her comments she agreed that the language used in setting restrictions in the policy was negative but in seeking advertising and sponsorship opportunities the Council would accentuate the positives.




The Committee considered the revised Advertising and Sponsorship Policy as set out in Appendix One to the report and submitted comments to Cabinet as detailed above.


Councillor Lawrence requested that his vote against the decision be registered, in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.


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