NARB plans to deliver regular policy papers

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The National Advertising Review Board is expanding its role to include regular policy papers about ad issues.

The move reflects a new, larger mission for the review board beyond handling appeals of ad cases adjudicated by its parent agency, the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Review Council. The group had issued white papers previously but its last, on the portrayal of women in advertising, came more than 10 years ago.


Wally O'Brien, NARC president, said last week that no specific issues have yet been targeted, but a steering committee is working on issues to be examined. About three papers a year are planned.

Mr. O'Brien said the ad industry's self-regulation arm felt it was time to take a more proactive role on industry issues. "We wanted to return to what our founding fathers had suggested and take a stand," he said.

In the past, the review board produced a number of papers including "Elderly in Advertising," "Political Advertising" and "Environment & Energy Advertising."

The shift comes as the NARC reinvents itself in the face of major changes in the advertising and marketing industry.

The Children's Advertising Review Unit, which once regularly dealt with 25 to 30 marketers of toys, cereal and videogames, has recently found itself working with an exploding universe of 160 or more. That's because Internet sites used by children and concerns about privacy on them have greatly expanded the number of marketers affected by CARU guidelines.


Meanwhile, the National Advertising Division is again considering telecommunications cases following several years in which the telecommunications industry opted to handle its own advertising fights.

NAD has also tried to more closely "harmonize" its decisions and definitions with those used by the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators.

NARC reported last week that in 1997 it handled 183 case, 119 presented to the National Advertising Division, 54 at CARU and 10 at the review board.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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