September 24, 2010


AAF Joins Brief

The American Advertising Federation has joined with other industry associations to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Court to consider the case of Educational Media Co. at Va. Tech, Inc. v. Swecker. AAF is supporting a challenge to a Virginia regulation that bans alcoholic beverage advertising in any college student publication – even when most readers are of legal drinking age. The brief argues that the regulation violates prior Court decisions that protect the First Amendment free speech rights of commercial speech. The brief can be found here.

FDA To Study DTC Ads

The Food and Drug Administration has requested comments on a proposed experimental study titled "Effect of Promotional Offers in Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Print Advertisements on Consumer Product Perceptions."

Based on prior research that shows that the type of promotion offered can affect how consumers respond, the FDA plans to study the use of consumer-oriented sales promotions such as free trial offers, discounts, money-back guarantees, rebates, and sweepstakes. The study will examine the type of promotional offer in three types of drug advertisements (prescription drug reminder ad, prescription drug full product ad, and OTC drug ad), in a “medium prevalence” medical condition.

The Federal Register Notice can be found here. Comments are due November 22, 2010.

FTC Subpoenas Food Companies

The Federal Trade Commission is issuing subpoenas to 48 food companies. The Commission will be preparing a follow-up to its report “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities and Self-Regulation” issued in 2008. The FTC has been generally supportive of industry self-regulatory efforts it this area. A Commission spokesperson stated that the new report is intended to help the agency determine if more efforts are needed.
In a related development, the Council of Better Business Bureaus has announced that the Sara Lee Corporation has joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. This brings the number of participating companies to 17, representing a great majority of food advertising seen by or directed to children under the age of 12.

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.