Look Ahead 2013

Three Regulation Trends to Watch in 2013

Industries From Weapons to Soda Will Likely Face Increasing Control

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Happy New Year. Now get cracking: We outline challenges for 2013 and offer up some predictions

Big Brother is limiting you

Non-alcoholic beverages are under assault on several fronts. The FDA is scrutinizing energy drinks and investigating 13 deaths that could be linked to 5-Hour Energy, as well as five deaths possibly linked to Monster. The agency has said it may consider asking companies to disclose the amount of caffeine in food products, as well as impose limitations on the products' use and warnings about possible side effects. Meanwhile, major beverage companies are facing a ban in New York City that will limit consumers to 16 oz. of any beverage with more than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving. (Fruit drinks and beverages that contain 51% or more milk or milk substitute are exempt.) The ban, introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is being contested by New Yorkers for Beverage Choices. For now, the city expects businesses to comply with the mandate by March 2013.

Number 1

Tax atttack?

The advertising expense tax deduction could be in play when Congress attempts to overhaul the tax code. The deduction has been on the books since Congress enacted the tax code in 1913 and for years industry leaders have feared that it might come under attack. But the threat could loom larger than usual in 2013 as politicians seek solutions to close the nation's budget deficit. Agencies fear that if the deduction is lost, marketers will curtail their ad budgets, meaning less work. Ultimately, that could mean less revenue for ad-supported media companies. Ad expenditures in the U.S. total $5.8 trillion, or 19% of the total economic output of the country, Ad Age reported last year. In New York, advertising generates $423 billion. Pharmaceutical companies, including their parent industry of chemical manufacturing, claim the biggest ad-expense deductions, according to an Ad Age analysis last year based on 2008 tax data.

Gunning for guns

Video-game and entertainment marketers will face scrutiny in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. The industries will be on defense as lawmakers look for blame. As some politicians seek broader gun-control laws, gun advocates, such as the National Rifle Association, have an interest in turning the attention to Hollywood. NBC Sports Group has already indefinitely pulled all of its gun and hunting advertising and programming, saying that "we do not feel it is appropriate to air such content at this time." Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has introduced a bill directing the National Academy of Sciences to "investigate the impact of violent video games and other content on children's well-being." He has also called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to "expand their work in this area."

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