Pubdate: Thu, 07 Nov 2002
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2002 Crain Communications Inc.
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Fcc Rules Against Ad Council

Public service announcements broadcast under the auspices of the White
House drug office advertising program must identify themselves as
being part of that program, the Federal Communications Commission
ruled today.

As a result of ruling, broadcasters will be forced to insert taglines
proclaiming "sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy"
in many spots now appearing on TV and radio.

The FCC action was a defeat for the Ad Council, which previously
petitioned the agency to allow anti-drug ads to run without the
identifying information. The council's earlier petitions alleged that
such an identification requirement would interfere with the anti-drug
message and prompt some participating media companies to pull their

No reason for exemption

The FCC said there is no reason to exempt drug office advertising from
a requirement that sponsors of any public service message be
identified. The FCC said because the drug office is involved with
choosing which anti-drug messages are eligible for broadcast, a
disclaimer mentioning its participation is warranted.

Ad Council President-CEO Peggy Conlon today called the ruling
"outrageous" and charged it would "take away one of the most important
tools that we have in keeping children off drugs."

Ms. Conlon said she hasn't yet talked to either TV networks or her
sponsoring groups on how to proceed, but suggested the ruling
conflicted with congressional legislation establishing the youth drug
ad campaign.


The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, and
the Media Access Project had opposed the Ad Council request.

Andy Schwartzman, director of the Media Access Project, today praised
the decision.

"We feel strongly this is right," he said. "This underscores the
importance of the legal requirement that people should know who is
trying to persuade them." 
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