You might not be that concerned about conclusions by the Mothers’ Union on marketing. After all, you do not have any input into the design of prams so why should they on email marketing. However, it would appear they have the ear of the prime minister and legislation might be on the way.
The government asked the Mothers’ Union to make recommendations on how to address public concern regarding pressures on children to grow up too quickly. They have just published their Review.
It focuses mainly on the opinions of parents although those of children and young people were sought, together with the thoughts of businesses and organisations. The conclusions were not exactly earth-shattering, but for practitioners of email marketing there might have to be a change in the way products are presented, and the product itself.
The concerns included sexualised images forming a backdrop to children’s lives, inappropriate clothing, products and services aimed at children and marketing all products to children. The wording is emotive.
Briefly, the Review’s recommendations will have a limited impact on email marketing. The concern regarding images is addressed easily enough. Your software should show which of those on your email list are children and you should bear this in mind when illustrating your emails.
The British Retail Consortium has produced a good practice document, which will hopefully negate the need for legislation. Parents were especially concerned with suggestive slogans on girls’ clothing.
The Review asked for regulatory action to protect children from excessive commercial pressures. This is a bit of a worry as legislation has often suffered from poor wording. The Review even suggested that marketers should not exploit any gaps in regulations. A bit of an indictment of our legislators.
The answer is to exercise care in your choice of children’s products and take into account the concern of parents in the way you market them. The Prime Minister has said we should “look to put the brakes on an unthinking drift towards . . . commercialisation and sexualisation” of children. It would be best if you were not the first to be prosecuted.