Over the weekend, Balls announced an inquiry into the commercialisation of children as part of his 10-year Children's Plan.
As revealed last week by Marketing on brandrepublic.com, he also cited an Alcohol Concern study, which he said showed a spike in ads between 4pm and 6pm, and revealed plans for a probe into drinks ads and underage drinking. The activity is widely seen as bringing closer a 9pm watershed for alcohol ads.
David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, rubbished the study as 'riddled with mistakes'. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Scottish & Newcastle said it strongly refuted any suggestions it targets children. 'Aside from the legal and moral issues, creating ads that appeal to under-18s, and buying slots in shows that do not deliver maximum audience value makes no sense.'
Mike Hughes, director general of ISBA, said: 'The industry is doing all the responsible things. A lot of these attacks come from people opposed to advertising.'