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NARC LAUNCHES NEW SELF-REGULATORY PROGRAM FOR ERA
The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) launched "The ERA Self-Regulatory
Program." NARC says the new program was created "to improve industry
business practices and increase consumer confidence, while also
allowing direct response professionals a forum to review claims
independently of federal regulation."
NARC's role in the ERA program will be to look at major claims within
a promotion and assess the adequacy of the supporting scientific
evidence. "NARC is determined to review programs as quickly as
possible to minimize damage to the consumer, resulting from
unsupported advertising claims." So said Jim Guthrie, President & CEO
of NARC and administrator of the program.
The ERA Self-Regulatory Program will involve a monitoring process and
will also allow advocacy and consumer groups, direct response
marketers and other interested parties, the chance to refer suspect
ads in an effort to remove offenders from the airwaves. The
electronic direct response industry, which consists of long form
(infomercial) productions, short form commercials, live home shopping
channels, Internet marketing and radio advertising, generated an
estimated $256 billion in revenues in 2003 alone.
FTC has been supportive of The ERA Self-Regulatory Program. FTC
Chairman Timothy Muris said, "I am very encouraged by the voluntary
self-regulatory efforts of the ERA and direct response industry as a
whole." He added that, "The ERA Self-Regulatory Program can be an
important step forward for consumers and business alike." Chairman
Muris has previously noted that NARC's advertising industry
self-regulation program is "a model of self-regulation."
(Source: NARC News Release, April 12, 2004.)
FTC DENIES PETITION REQUESTING A RULEMAKING PROCEEDING OVER
After reviewing a petition submitted to FTC, the agency voted to deny the request for a rulemaking proceeding
concerning FTC's procedures in nonpublic investigations of
health-related advertising. The First Amendment Health Freedom
Association, a coalition of manufacturers and consumers of dietary
supplements, submitted the petition to FTC. that petition adsked FTC
to issue rules requiring the FTC staff, when investigating
health-related advertising, to:
(1) evaluate the scientific evidence before initiating the
(2) identify the specific advertising content that the staff
considers to be misleading and the basis for that belief in the
initial access letter or civil investigative demand (CID);
(3) identify, at the earliest possible point in the investigation,
the specific grounds for the staff's belief that the substantiation
is inadequate; and
(4) issue warning letters to advertisers as a primary enforcement
mechanism, rather than initiating formal investigations by access
letter or CID.
FTC's vote to deny the petition was 5-0.
(FTC Release, April 20, 2004; Procedures for Investigating
Health-Related Claims in Food, Drug, and Dietary Supplement
Advertising, FTC File No. P034515.)
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