MCV may finally have the answer today, in the shape of Business4Life; a group of corporate entities which have pledged a £200 million in-kind contribution to support Change4Life through marketing, branding and advertising activity.
The coalition’s members have been granted influence on the editorial direction of the campaign by the Department of Health – but not a single games firm has been invited or asked to donate.
Confectionery firms that have signed up include Coca-Cola, Cadbury’s, Mars, Nestle and PepsiCo – the owner of Walker’s Crisps. TV companies that sit on the Board include BSkyB, Channel 4, five, ITV, Virgin Media and Viacom.
The latest Change4Life print ad – which shows a young gamer under the words ‘Risk an early DEATH. Just do nothing’ – has attracted widespread criticism from the industry for ignoring TV and fast food’s role in the UK’s obesity crisis.
Marketing director of Business4Life Jane Holdsworth has encouraged the industry to get involved – and expressed regret that no games publisher has yet signed up.
“It’s a shame – a combination of us not having contacts and games companies not coming forward,” she told MCV. “We would be delighted to have the games industry involved in future. Our members meet regularly with the Department Of Health, and are given opportunity to express opinions about upcoming campaigns – which helps avoid nasty surprises.”
Surprisingly, Holdsworth added her voice to those that have criticised the new ad. She added: “It’s irrational and grossly unfair to pick on a single product like that. I’m surprised, because the Department of Health’s own research shows negative advertising is not effective.”
Nintendo has told MCV that it is now keen to open discussions with Business4Life.