The ad industry is all a twitter about recent rulings by the Children's Advertising Review Board reports Ad Age. CARU, a division of the self-regulatory group National Advertising Review Council, has been battling Kraft over a Lunchables Chicken Shake-Ups ad which CARU claimed did not properly represent four out of the five food groups as required by the group's guidelines. Kraft revised the ads but said forcing advertisers to show all required food groups might cause advertisers to "depict an overabundance of foods."
Advertising attorney Douglas Wood told Ad Age CARU is overstepping its bounds by making the wrong way, saying, "Doing so [make policy changes in advertising practices] through cases rather than rule-making is a very dangerous road. By using a case to announce a broad reaching rule, some will argue that CARU has eliminated the deliberative process and engaged in rule-making more by fiat than fairness. Without doubt, this will further fuel the debate that CARU has become too aggressive."
Not that it will necessarily curtail or make it any easier to find scumware peddlers but the Senate Commerce Committee is doing its best with its introduction of the SPY BLOCK act. The act, called the Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge Act, was introduced yesterday to the Committee by Montana Republican Senator Conrad Burns and aims to make illegal the less than honest practices of adware and spyware companies. Practices such as endlessly looping pop ups, identity theft, changing browser settings, fake uninstalls and unclear installation information. Hopefully, this bill will less toothless than the recently signed California Spyware bill.
California business partners Dawn Westlake and Bruce Rheins have submitted a patent request for a wine label which reads "Jesus Juice" and contains a Jesus and Michael Jackson-like image in a crucification pose. the two hope to market wine under the label and are currently seeking business partners
Closely following the Lugz/Apple story in which an Apple commercial featuring Eminem was called similar to a 2002 Lugz footwear commercial, AdFreak reports it has been told by Lugz the company has sent Apple a cease and desist letter asking Apple to stop running the Eminem spot. Stay tuned. We're sure there will be more to this story.
The honesty in circulation crackdown the federal government launched has nabbed yet another lying publisher. Edward D. Brown, president and publisher of Bedford Communications, publisher of Laptop magazine, and Director of Circulation John Jay Annis were caught dumping 15,000 copies of Laptop on a distributor that would never distribute them. That's because the distributor was actually an undercover operation set up by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just to catch crooked publishers. Brown told the distributor he didn't care what happened to the 15,000 magazines as long as there was a paper trail that would make everything look legal. Arrest warrants have been issued for Brown and Annis.
Showing their opposition to prescription drug advertising, 211 professors from U.S. medical schools endorsed a statement that "direct-to-consumer marketing of prescription drugs should be prohibited." The statement's endorsers include prominent medical school professors from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Stanford, Yale, Duke, University of California, San Francisco and other top medical schools, along with two former editors-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. Commercial Alert wrote and organized the statement, and released it today.
Next week, Commercial Alert will present the statement to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in testimony at the FDA's hearings on direct-to-consumer drug advertising. The statement follows.
Fast food fatties who like to blame fast food establishment like McDonald's and Burger King for their weight gain may soon be out of luck. The House of Representative passed a bill banning obesity-related lawsuits against restaurants and food makers. Urging people to get their lazy asses off the couch, supporters of the bill said the purpose of the bill is to place responsibility for one's own weight squarely where it belongs - with the person who controls their hands that place food in their mouth - and not makes of food even if the food is horribly unhealthy and dangerous to one's health. The point being, restaurant and food manufacturers haven't yet found a way to force feed humans. Until that time, it's the individual who will be in control of caloric intake.
Yesterday, Commercial Alert's Gary Ruskin said his organization sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate buzz marketers, whom he claims "are perpetrating large-scale deception upon consumers by deploying buzz marketers who fail to disclose that they have been enlisted to promote products. This failure to disclose is fundamentally fraudulent and misleading." He specifically named P&G's 250,000-strong Tremor, a group made up of teenagers who talk up products to their friends.
As pointed out by Word of Mouth Marketing Association President Andy Sernovitz, Ruskin incorrectly lumps together buzz marketing with guerrilla and stealth marketing. Following the Commercial Alert release, WOMMA quickly responded with a clarification of the difference between buzz, stealth, guerilla and word of mouth methods and procided a statement of its position on word of mouth and buzz marketing which, in a nutshell, requires open, honest and full disclosure in all marketing efforts.
According to a new report (PDF) from Gary Ruskin's Commercial Alert "sixty percent of movies advertised on the in-school TV program Channel One portray smoking." Ruskin claims since January 1, 2000 40 out of 67 movie ads aired on Channel One portrayed smoking. Ruskin's group, of course, doesn't like this and claims the portrayal of smoking in movies causes 390,000 young people take up smoking each year.
Negating the pain and suffering hurricane Katrine caused, to idiotic Louisiana lawyers are attempting to capitalize on recent events by requesting a patent for alcoholic drinks bearing the Katrina name. Andrew Vicknair and Harold Ehrenberg are the two kooks who applied for the patent September 4 which included a logo with the name Katrina, a satellite image of the hurricane and the tagline "Get Blown Away." Harold's website, on which he also refers to himself as a chiropractor might explain this weird move.