June 20, 2014


Subcommittee Includes IWG Language in Bill

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services has included language in theFY15 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill stating that “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Federal Trade Commission to complete the draft report entitled ‘Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts’ unless the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children complies with Executive Order No. 13563.”  The provision means the so-called voluntary principles must undergo the same cost/benefit analysis as traditional government regulations.

Senate Commerce Holds Advertising Hearings

The U.S Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance conducted a June 17 hearing on “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products.”  A webcast of the hearing can be viewed here.  Television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz received the bulk of the post-hearing press coverage.  However, Lee Peeler, President and CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, also testified and educated committee members on the work the industry does to ensure high standards of substantiation and truthfulness in the advertising of weight loss and other products.
The following day the full committee conducted a hearing on “Aggressive E-Cigarette Marketing and Potential Consequences for Youth.”  A webcast of the hearing can be viewed here.  

FDA Issues Draft Guidance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance titled "Internet/Social Media Platforms with Character Space Limitations - Presenting Risk and Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices.”  Under the proposal, companies would be required to post both the benefits and the main risks associated with a product, potentially with a hyperlink taking the reader directly to a more detailed list of risks.  The FDA will accept comments on the proposal for 90 days.

DAA Protests W3C Action

The AAF supported Digital Advertising Alliance has written to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) protesting the group’s Tracking Protection Working Group moving forward with efforts to establish a “do not track” standard.  The DAA is concerned that the W3C was established to build consensus around technology standards and not complex policy matters.  Further, the Working Group is moving ahead with disregard for the organization’s established processes and procedures.  The letter also details how the DAA self-regulatory program advances consumer control, transparency, and other critical practices, thereby achieving many of the goals of a “do not track” system.

Supreme Court Allows False Advertising Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that POM Wonderful may move forward with a false advertising suit against Coca-Cola.  POM Wonderful claims that the label on Coca-Cola’s Blueberry Pomegranate Juice misleads consumer into believing that the product contains more blueberry and pomegranate juices than it does.  The decision is significant not because of the merits of the dispute, but because the Court ruled that POM Wonderful may proceed with a Lanham Act false advertising case even though the product label complied with Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act regulations.