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British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on Monday brought his campaign against TV junk food advertising to the south of France.
Giving a keynote address at MIPCOM in Cannes, the Food Revolution star urged British networks to get behind his campaign for a ban on airing junk food commercials before the 9 p.m. watershed in the U.K., or face eventual government legislation to do so.
“We’re getting to a scenario now where people actually say we can’t make killer drama without selling shit to kids,” he said. Oliver told U.K. networks executives to be proactive, and not reactive, when it came to the marketing of salt, fat and sugar products to young viewers.
“Are you going to have clarity and be honest, or be told what to do?” Oliver questioned. The celebrity TV chef insisted the U.K. currently has legislation that protects kids against junk food advertising for TV programming aimed at viewers aged six years and under.
But Oliver insisted young Brits were avid viewers of primetime TV fare. “The data and the reality is they’re not there. They’re watching X Factor, they’re watching Britain’s Got Talent,” he argued.
During his Cannes keynote, Oliver looked back over his 20 years in TV that has helped him hone his many businesses from diverse restaurants, publishing and production companies into an overriding strategy to fight obesity and diabetes.
Oliver said his TV cooking shows and campaigns have succeeded not only in bringing about a U.K. government tax on sugary drinks, but also changed how people shop, cook and eat food.
“And 20 years in TV is like 100 years,” he quipped. “We all know you guys in television will eat up and spit out talent quicker than you can say billion, right?”
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