Junk Food success

Exactly a year ago today, I laid into Burger King for running a promotion for kids upwards of three around Transformers, a film for over twelves. Hollywood seems to me to be the last refuge in the scandal of junk food marketing to kids.

So it is just great news to hear now from Anna Fielder (NCC’s star international adviser) that “Burger King now say they’ve now abandoned ALL advertising of foods to kids, including abolished the children’s section of the website and stopped any tie-ins (such as toys and films) for the future.” Hurrah!

Time to trim the hedges?

There are 630 hedge funds investing in energy markets, with, last year, $8 trillion of futures contracts in oil. There is a growing movement arguing that these speculators are not the ‘secondary’ markets they are supposed to be, improving the market for everyone, but rather a rentier class cashing in at everyone else’s expense. Hazel Henderson is an eloquent critic of the global casino economy and is worth reading on whether it is time to rein in the oil speculators

Comms community

Meeting up with Claudio Pollack today from the communications regulator, Ofcom to talk about mobile phones. Ofcom have really upped their game when it comes to protecting consumers – here is Claudio and team smiling when I last said this to them. But there’s a lot more to do … photo of grim determination now required.

Branch saviour

I am meeting up with Derek French, who leads the campaign against bank branch closure. He tells me about Shirley Road Croydon which has lost its Post Office, HSBC and Barclays branch… and now the pharmacist is threatened.

We talk about whether the Postwatch ‘code’ on closure that operates for post offices (in normal times) could have relevance across these lifeline local services and how the new organisation could perhaps support communities that are faced with sudden threats like this to their high street and economic life. He says “don’t organise a public meeting, because if it is not packed out, they will hold it against you”, “don’t do a petition as they will say ‘these aren’t in fact our customers'” but individual letters do work well. All the more reason to have a local post office …

Red face on food

It caused a big conversation at home around the kitchen table when Gordon Brown urged us all not to waste food, earlier this month. The fingers waved in the air and then to a wife and 3 children pointed at me as the top food waster of the family – because I religiously throw anything away that is even minutes past its sell-by date.

Big red face for me then when the report that Brown was launching lands on my desk – 124 pages of brick, thickanalysis on the future of food and listed in the expert advisers on their panel… one Ed Mayo.

Ombudsmen and women

Elizabeth France is one of Britain’s Ombudsman and I visited her operations in Warrnington as she will be taking on a wider role in energy complaints. Ombudsmen (not sure a gender neutral version has caught up yet) deal with 150,000 cases a year for consumers, according to Brookerpedia.