NARC studies wider mandate

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The National Advertising Review Council, the advertising industry's self-regulatory system, is considering whether to expand its mandate to set up a unit that would deal with "age-restricted advertising." The voluntary unit would police advertising of products and services that can't be sold to or consumed by minors to determine whether those ads target under-age consumers. Affected categories would include tobacco, liquor, beer, wine and gaming, said O. Burtch Drake, president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Mr. Drake and other members of NARC's board, made up of the heads of the 4A's, American Advertising Federation, Association of National Advertisers and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, met in New York earlier this week and included the issue on its agenda. It's expected to come up again at an NARC board meeting later this month. "This is a concept only at this point," Mr. Drake said. NARC currently only looks at the truth and accuracy of ads, but "where you start talking about advertising designed for adults that may influence teenagers, you're in an exceptionally subjective area," Mr. Drake said. The boards of directors of each of the industry associations, as well as key industry players would have to agree to any such change in NARC's mandate, he said.

Copyright December 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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