Government Report: December 17, 2010

AAF Government Report

December 17, 2010

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

AAF Comments on Green Guides

The American Advertising Federation and our sister association, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, have filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the recently proposed revision of the agency’s "Green Guides" for environmental marketing. The associations support the FTC’s goal of insuring environmental claims are accurate and useful to consumers. However, most of the proposed revisions are based upon the results of a single, limited, consumer perception survey, which is simply not comprehensive enough to provide the basis for many of the changes being proposed.

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European Union Considered Generic Packaging

The European Union is considering revisions to its existing Tobacco Products Directive. One proposed revision would require all cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging. The AAF has filed comments with the EU explaining that there are no studies that show the proposal would do anything to reduce the rate of tobacco consumption. The comments also discuss the detrimental effect the proposal would have on branding, and the negative impact it would have on consumers, companies and the EU’s member states.

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Department of Commerce Issues Privacy Report

On December 16, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its long awaited Privacy Report. On aspect of the report is positive in that it encourages “the development of voluntary, enforceable privacy codes of conduct leveraging innovation and expertise in the private sector to develop trustworthy privacy practices that respond to current risks in a manner that fits with evolving business models.” AAF has already joined with other industry associations to develop a robust self-regulatory system for online behavioral advertising. The announcement of the program can be found here.

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President Signs Commercial Volume Legislation

President Obama has signed into law a measure that will limit the audio of television commercials. The law requires the Federal Communications Commission to adopt industry standards coordinating ad decibel levels to those of the regular program within one year. The law applies to all broadcast providers, including cable and satellite.

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Upton to Chair Commerce Committee

The House Republican caucus has chosen Representative Fred Upton, R-Mich., to be the next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over most non-tax advertising issues. Rep. Upton was chosen over Congressman Joe Barton, R-Texas, who was seeking a waiver of the caucus’ six year term limits for committee leaders, including serving as both chairman and ranking minority member.

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