NARC's boss

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The council of Better Business Bureaus presented a holiday gift to national advertisers: an agreement to again provide the funding ($300,000 or more a year) to hire a full-time president for the National Advertising Review Council. NARC oversees the national advertising self-regulation program in the U.S.

It is a welcome commitment, and a significant additional investment in the future of self-regulation and of NARC, which partners the CBBB with the American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers. The national ad community should be grateful and live up to its end of the bargain. One part of that bargain is a financial quid pro quo: a push by ad leaders to get more national advertisers to become dues-paying members of CBBB, an organization whose financial resources are not bottomless. More advertisers and agencies should do so.

But the other part of the bargain is equally important: to make the most of the investment by finding a skilled and energetic leader able to sell the value of an active self-regulation program, not only to often- skeptical officials in Washington, but to a sometimes disinterested ad industry as well.

A reinvigorated self-regulation program, built on CBBB's National Advertising Division and its Children's Advertising Review Unit, needs to have an expansive charter from the industry to act quickly and explore tough issues. It's good to have a top executive to pitch self-regulation. But he or she will need active business backing to have a dynamic product to promote.

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