FTC Official to Head National Advertising Review Council

C. Lee Peeler to Take Over Marketing Industry Self-Regulatory Body in Sept.

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- Advertising groups and the Council of Better Business Bureaus are turning to a top Federal Trade Commission official to take over as the new head of their increasingly high-profile advertising self-review organization.
NARC is the advertising industry's self-regulatory body and has come under increasing public scrutiny as a result of national controversies over food marketing and obesity and other children-related issues.
NARC is the advertising industry's self-regulatory body and has come under increasing public scrutiny as a result of national controversies over food marketing and obesity and other children-related issues.

Consumer protection
C. Lee Peeler, deputy director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, has been named as the new president-CEO of the National Advertising Review Council.

Mr. Peeler, 58, in September will replace James R. Guthrie, who earlier announced plans to leave.

NARC supervises the National Advertising Division and the Children's Advertising Review Unit, and promotes its codes, its procedures for handling advertising complaints and industry self-regulation as alternatives to government regulation.

Food marketers under attack
Attacks on children's food marketers and on CARU's activities by ad critics such as Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, have raised the organization's profile.

Steven J. Cole, president-CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said the choice of Mr. Peeler was an easy one.

"He's really smart, a good communicator and deeply concerned, passionate about the industry and has always been an outstanding supporter of self-regulation," Mr. Cole said. "We get someone who knows what we do but also knows why. We don't have to start from scratch and can start running, and are sending a signal that we are serious about self-regulation."

Mr. Peeler, a lawyer, has spent his entire professional career at the FTC, starting there in 1973 and staying for 33 years. He decided to take the NARC post because "it seemed like a perfect fit," he said.

'A nice challenge'
"It's a real opportunity allowing me to take what I have learned about advertising and self-regulation and use it -- a nice challenge."

Mr. Peeler said his acceptance of the new post will force him to recuse himself from FTC advertising cases involving self-regulation until he moves to NARC.

Mr. Guthrie originally had planned to leave early this summer but postponed his departure until CARU finishes a rewrite of its guidelines for advertising directed at children. One reason Mr. Peeler was chosen was to make sure implementation of the new guidelines goes smoothly, Mr. Cole said.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation and the Association of National Advertisers allied with the Council of Better Business Bureaus to create NARC as an independent self-regulatory body for the ad industry.
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