With the recent bi-partisan effort to enact further restrictions on tobacco advertising, I decided to explore the issue further.
Just how much does advertising and marketing need to be regulated?
It doesn’t matter who’s in power in Washington—there are both Democrats and Republicans who want to impose the additional tobacco regulations. It seems we are living in an ever-growing nanny state, and there are other types of advertising in the regulatory crosshairs, most notably fast-food, pharmaceutical, political advertising, and anything that kids could potentially see. That’s just for starters.
Now, I’m no fan of excessive government regulation, and I find it deeply strange to ban advertising of any product that’s perfectly legal to make and sell. But every time the threat of more regulation emerges, the leading trade groups for marketers, manufacturers, and advertisers along with their attendant lobbyists always say, “We don’t need federal regulation. Self-policing is the best way to go.” Bullshit. That’s letting the fox guard the henhouse, and frankly, our industry has never displayed much capacity for trustworthiness.
It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo.
I hope you enjoy it. I know these tubes of the Internets reach an audience around the world, but most of what I wrote applies primarily to American advertising and our government’s regulatory abilities.