The Law Of The Advertising Landscape

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.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. This is a hot issue that will very likely stay hot for a couple of years to come. There is no doubt in my mind that advertising and marketing has a strong effect and influence on people (and mainly on Kids).
    Seeing this, I am for a moderate regulation from the Federal Government (not only in America, but in many other countries that need this regulations). This doesn’t mean we should go ahead and BAN all tobacco, alcohol, fast-food, etc., advertising.. but it does mean that scheduling, benefits portrayed, branding messages, etc., should be controlled in a way that do not have a negative impact on the younger ones.
    Many countries are doing it already. Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, UK… do we see a pattern here?… They have healthier societies and kids than we do over here in the West. I’m all for it.
    Ron E.

  2. theo kie says:

    Several clients I know are quietly, yet very quickly reformulating every, future product introduction with the understanding legislation will demand far healthier offerings – especially in regards to children. This is a seismic shift in how these companies have operated, and it’s only happening due to legislation.
    I’m not one for government getting too involved, but without it we have proven ourselves to be far less demanding of clients to “do the right thing”. And, as you say, Danny, it’s not like marketers have proven themselves to care about the consumer as much as the profit margin. Most marketers would never tell a client to reconfigure its most profitable, cherished brands – which is exactly what will soon be happening across the marketplace.