March 5, 2008

Legislative Activity

Honorable Mark Pryor
SD-255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Pryor,

On behalf of the membership of the American Advertising Federation, I am writing to share concerns we have with Section 11 of S. 2663, the Consumer Products Safety Commission Reform Act.

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) is the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." The AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country and nearly 8,000 college students in chapters on 230 college campuses. The AAF also has 130 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies and media companies, comprising the nation's leading brands and corporations.

The provisions of Section 11 of the bill would require manufacturers, distributors or retailers of children's toys containing small parts to include additional cautionary statements in or immediately adjacent to internet and catalog advertisements.

While we certainly support the goal of protecting children from choking or other hazards, we believe that as written Section 11 could lead to language that would create extensive warnings and overburden the Internet and catalog advertisements subject to its provisions.

The traditional role of advertising is to call attention to a product or service and thereby make the consumer aware of its availability. Advertising is not the most appropriate or effective vehicle for conveying extensive warning information about a product. For the vast majority of products, warning information is placed on packaging, which allows the purchaser ample time to read and understand the information.

We request that the Senate adopt the language of the House bill (H.R. 4040) that would require the CPSC to initiate a rulemaking on the matter. This would give the commission the opportunity to consider issues such as placement and size of warnings. Such an approach would serve the worthy goal of warning consumers while simultaneously protecting advertisements from burdensome information overload.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Clark Rector Jr.
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs