July 18, 2007

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Snyder, Speaking for Advertising, Says Industry Has Responded Positively and Aggressively to Improve Its Self-Regulatory Response

Washington, D.C.—American Advertising Federation (AAF) President and CEO Wallace S. Snyder praised the commitment of the advertising industry on its aggressive self-regulation efforts and the positive work of the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) today at a joint obesity workshop sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). During the meeting, representatives from food, media and advertising industries reported on new initiatives addressing food marketing to children. The workshop was held as a follow-up to the 2005 FTC/HHS forum on marketing, self-regulation and childhood obesity.

Snyder pointed out the FTC continues to be the relevant agency responsible for establishing public policy with regard to children's advertising, as a result of decades of experience in regulation and a sophisticated understanding of how advertising can work to respond to the concerns of consumers. More than two decades ago, the FTC endorsed a course of action to improve children's advertising in the United States. Since then, the FTC has consistently reaffirmed these recommendations and the advertising industry continues to uphold these principles today. "In short, the industry has responded positively and aggressively to the FTC's challenge to improve its self-regulatory response," said Snyder. "I believe the industry continues to enthusiastically support this policy, and in fact, will continue to do so into the future."

Having led the commission's initial investigation into the effects of advertising on children, Snyder brought to today's hearing not only historical relevance, but also a firsthand perspective on the progress of the advertising industry's self-regulation initiatives. Snyder commented that subsequent to FTC recommendations, established 25 years ago, the advertising industry has continually displayed an "unparalleled record of success." He concluded, "these commitments are significant, far exceeding the minimum criteria of the program, and will result in meaningful changes in what products the participating companies advertise."

Snyder cited a key example of how the industry has persevered. In 2005, the FTC proposed that CARU undergo a review by the National Advertising Review Council. This evaluation consequently led to the development of a new children's food and beverage initiative, which includes food companies that comprise over two-thirds of children's food and beverage television advertising expenditures. The goal of the initiative is to engage as many advertisers as possible to make a significant, collective impact in shifting the mix of products advertised to children.

To read Wally Snyder's complete statement, click here.