Ad body and media chief split over obesity study

The Advertising Association has parted company with its chief media spokesman Michael Mansfield, following a disagreement on how it should use research it had conducted on obesity.

Mansfield’s departure came when the trade body, which represents 26 advertising and marketing bodies, decided to sit on the research carried out by its Food Advertising Unit (FAU) that included criticism of the advertising industry.

‘I think the reason that I was fired was that I was too face-on. I was doing what I have been trained to do,’ said Mansfield. He explained that he supported releasing the qualitative and quantitative study of obese people, despite there being criticisms of the advertising industry in two of the 28 interviews.

‘If you get a PR bloke working for an ad association, it’s a mismatch – they did not accept my working style,’ said Mansfield, adding that he did not expect the association to use the obesity report.

A spokesperson for the body denied there had been a disagreement over the study, saying Mansfield had left on his own accord and that the FAU is ‘always conducting and commissioning research, and everything that is for the public domain is available on our website’.

Mansfield was appointed in August to enable senior public affairs manager Jim Rothwell to spend more time on the association’s public affairs activity.

Rothwell now resumes media responsibilities as the organisation decides whether it will replace Mansfield.

Mansfield has returned to freelance work, providing PR for solicitor Leon Kay’s Equitable Life Action Group. He is also representing a CSR organisation and speechwriting for a government department.

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