Ad Review Council weighs option of charging members

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Advertising groups looking to increase funding for the industry's self-regulatory arm, the National Advertising Review Council, are examining the possibility of asking for fees from participants.

The funding -- under discussion by the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the leaders of three advertising groups that make up the NARC governing board -- would go toward hiring a new organization president as well as seeding other activities.

"We had a meeting with new president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus [Ken Hunter], and what we decided to do was to form a task force on how do we best grow this and fund this future growth," said Association of National Advertisers President-CEO John Sarsen.


"There are three areas that we want to look at [for funding]. One is to grow membership in [the CBBB]. The second is to better tap into the council for services or materials that could be sold. The third is for fee-based services."

The three advertising groups -- the ANA, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the American Advertising Federation -- have been searching for ways to fund the NARC president post for more than a year, when the CBBB said it could no long afford that position. The decision led NARC's then-president, Wally O'Brien, to retire without a full-time replacement (AA, May 3).

The CBBB still provides funds for the National Advertising Review Council's day-to-day work, but the trio of ad groups maintains it's also important to have a president to preach the benefits of advertising self-regulation to marketers as well as the government.


The CBBB's Mr. Hunter offered to take on a quarter of the estimated $300,000 to $400,000 cost of the post if the three ad groups also raise 25% each, a spokeswoman said.

The ad groups last week said the request for money is triggering a closer look at the way the NARC and its National Advertising Division and Children's Advertising Review Unit have been funded. Traditionally, members of the CBBB pay no fee to have their cases heard or their advertising reviewed.

"One way to solve the problem is for each of us to come up with a quarter [of the cost], however there are other ways that money can be raised, and we are going to appoint a committee to look at alternatives," said O. Butch Drake, Four A's president.

AAF President-CEO Wally Snyder said a committee is needed. "The ball is in our court," he said.

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