Ad industry lobbying of EU slammed as inadequate

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BRUSSELS - Brussels lobbying by the advertising industry is "woefully inadequate" and threatens to undermine the interests of the whole industry, according to one well placed official within the European Commission.

Efforts to influence the debate over the revision to the 1989 broadcast directive and the green paper on commercial communications "are failing", according to the official. And, as a result, anti-advertising groups are dominating the minds of politicians, he says.

"I am not surprised that the European Parliament's culture committee voted to ban all advertising to children last month, because the advertising industry's message is being drowned out by anti-advertising groups," says the official. Lobbyists for the industry are making some serious mistakes in their attempts to woo parliamentarians, he adds.

Several groups, including the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Toy Manufacturers Europe (TME), are trying to defend advertising by seeking protection under article 10 of the Treaty of Rome, which lays down the principle of freedom of speech. "Those lobbyists are foolish to think that politicians will accept this argument," says the official. "Politicians are unlikely to consider freedom of commercial speech in the same light as freedom of political speech." Both the WFA and TME stressed the freedom of speech argument in their recent responses to the Green Paper on commercial communication.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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