Political Advertising Should Be Held to Higher Standards

Consumer Ads Would Never Get Away With This

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Sarah Ewing Sarah Ewing
The heat on the presidential campaign is bringing candidates' arguments to a boil. Nowhere is that boil more evident than in political advertising. The closer Nov. 4 gets, the more political advertisements flood our media. And our industry couldn't be happier for it! A business publication this past summer stated that presidential campaign media buys have filled the gap left by recessionary advertising cutbacks.

We, as advertisers, should be thrilled at our profiting coin purses. However, we should also be appalled at the lack of regulatory equality between political advertising and all others. Why should truth in advertising only apply to goods and services? The soul of marketing is to provide benefits that meet consumer needs. The FCC regulates the industry to ensure that consumers receive accurate information to assess the solution that best meets their needs.

A report from Politifact.com stated that the 2008 presidential campaign contained a record quantity of false and misleading advertising. As consumers, we do have a need to receive accurate information in order to determine the president that best meets our needs (which are too abundant to list). Using the same logic that regulates the rest of the advertising industry, why should these campaigns not be regulated?

Inaccurate political ads cause consumers to mistrust the rest of our regulated consumer advertising. They say that a bad seed can ruin a whole crop. In a time of economic recession, we need a good crop. The better the crop, the more benefit we can provide to the American people. The more benefit we can provide to the American people, the greater their consumer confidence, the greater their spending in the economy, and the quicker the economic turnaround. Equality does not just look good on paper. Rather, equality in advertising can help us better our economy both through our president and through advertising.