"This is you," he said.
Ms. Levine now is the newly named VP of the council and director of its National Advertising Division, the ad industry's self-regulatory arm.
Her previous job gave Ms. Levine, 46, a relatively short view of regulation from the corporate side. Before that, she spent a decade on the other side of the ad fence, as a New York assistant attorney general. Ms. Levine spent much of that time working as the state's representative in alliances with other attorneys general to draw up advertising guidelines.
She personally drafted some of the National Association of Attorneys General's ad guidelines, and defended the airline ad guidelines through the U.S. Supreme Court.
The airline guidelines, developed a decade ago, required carriers to clearly disclose in ads some of the conditions and penalties of MaxSaver-type discount fares.
NAD BALANCING ACT
She cited the experience in drawing up those guidelines, and her duties at Ryan Community Health Network, as indicative of the balancing act at NAD.
"Our job is to protect the integrity of the advertising industry so it won't be regulated but also to give consumers the confidence that what they see is true and accurate," she said.
Ms. Levine said NAD fills an important role as a forum for self-regulation that both quickly and with relatively little cost can handle complaints and either avoid regulatory problems for companies or deal with issues beyond regulators' interests.
Ms. Levine said that in taking the post-vacant since November when Debra Goldstein became associate counsel of U.K.-based agency holding company Cordiant-she also inherits the role of proselytizing on behalf of NAD.
While package-good and cosmetics companies, among others, already use NAD, Mr. Levine said she hopes to promote self-regulation to additional industries.
"As new products get introduced in the marketplace, if we don't step into self-regulation, government regulation is not far behind," she said, warning that telecommunications ad issues will need more attention at NAD.
Ms. Levine, who actually started in the job at the end of February, recently attended a National Association of Attorneys General meeting to urge attorneys general to either use NAD themselves to resolve complaints or to suggest it to people calling in to complain as one way to resolve disputes.
Wally O'Brien, president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Review Council, said Ms. Levine offered an unusual opportunity for the council.
"It's easy to say you are looking for opportunity," he said, "but she understood how advertising works and was sensitive to the dual role of maintaining a level playing field for advertisers while protecting the public."