Every election year, I am re-amazed by one of the more amazing things I learned in my advertising life.
That is, there is one set of rules for consumer ads and no set of rules for political ads.
Want to run a TV ad for your toilet cleanser? It will have to be cleared by the network’s “ethics and standards” group. No false or misleading claims allowed about your product or your competitor’s.
Want to run a TV commercial for your political candidate? No lawmen here, so have at it. Lies, half-truths and conspiracy theories are welcome.
While the networks act as a watchdog for consumer advertising, the Federal Trade Commission actually brings action against violators. They have a nice little set of punishments, including cease-and-desist orders, fines, frozen assets and compensation for those affected by fraud.
On their website, the FTC says,“The FTC looks especially closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks.”
Hmm. It’s not like a presidential candidate can affect our health or pocketbook, right?Continue reading…