Guest post: Parents – stop blaming ads, grow a backbone and say ‘no’

In this guest posting, The Hub Agency’s Ed Commander argues that parents need to stop blaming the ad industry and start saying “No”

So once again the debate rages around whether or not the industry can self regulate or whether it needs a truly independent (governmental) body to watch over it.  

FEd Commander hub agencyirstly I will state that I am completely in favour of self-regulation. Having worked in a contentious product category before, I can tell you one thing is absolutely true. The damage caused to share price by marketing activities which would be deemed unacceptable by the masses or by a court of law is FAR more concerning than any minute incremental increase in awareness / sales / preference, etc.

Believe me – this is true. No marketing director or board – especially those with share options – is going to want to do anything which might impact on their business in terms of ability to market in the future which in turn would damage sales which in turn would decrease share value.

I digress.

What I wanted to talk about was learning to say “no”. And this is directed at every parent out there. Just learn to say fucking “no”. Try it now. I bet you do it more than once a day to adults who would actually have the ability to biff you , argue back, withhold something you need. So if you can say it to a colleague, friend or partner, grow a bloody back bone and start saying it to your kids.

So if they see an ad for a chocolate bar on TV (Heavens! Protect the children. Won’t you think of the children?) and they want it next time you in are in the supermarket, just say “no”.

It’s that simple.

I want parents to stop abdicating the responsibility of curbing consumption of any product, foodstuff, toy, beverage, etc, to media owners and product owners. I want every Gen X’er and Baby Boomer to cast their minds back and remember how well your own parents responded to demands for something. Amazingly, my parents, like most, had mastered the one syllable, two letter answer that seems to completely elude parents of anyone under the age of 22 these days.


No you can’t have a burger.

No, we’re not getting that toy.

No you can’t have a chocolate bar, you had one earlier.

No you can’t go to the circus, its bedtime.

No you can’t have a beer.

No – the gin belongs to mummy.


You get the idea.

So parents of Australia.

Stop whinging and complaining about your complete lack of ability to discipline your own children and teach them some parameters about what they can and can’t have. Stop asking someone else to take responsibility for setting boundaries for your offspring.

Take matters into your own hands. Say “no”. Just as I say “no” to any more bloody regulation around products and companies which have every legal right to advertise.


PS: Please send all your research about the damaging effects of advertising on children to me. It will all of course be absolutely statistically correct. It will also exclude any reference to parental responsibility.

PPS: And if I hear anyone say; “oh but some parents just need help” well FINE. Get them help. Just stop bloody expecting our industry and our clients to do it.

PPPS: And another thing. Two lesbian friends of mine who are having a baby with a known male sperm donor have just had to go through several rounds of legal steps and counselling before they were even allowed to test if the process would work. These are educated, informed, sensible people. EVERY single person should go through such a process before being legally allowed to give birth to their child. I would say before they attempt to conceive, but that would involve my Master Plan of vasectomizing every male on the planet and only after counselling would they be allowed to reverse the operation.

PPPPS: To all the people who have dogs instead of kids, I salute you. Remember to not let your dog within 500km of a playground because as the parents have so rightly pointed out, every dog is a vicious killer waiting to maul their beloved offspring to death. These are the same parents who don’t have the ability to say; “no, come away from the dog”.


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