Regulate Dubious Ads, FTC Member Tells US Media Industry

17 April 2002

One of the five members of the US Federal Trade Commission has warned the media that it must root out ads making bogus claims for such products as vitamin supplements and diet aids, or risk being held in violation of consumer protection law.

Speaking at a Food and Drug Law Institute conference, Sheila Anthony, a Democrat member of the Commission, told magazine and newspaper publishers, radio groups and direct mailers to copy the example of network TV in assessing the content of ads.

In its quest against dubious advertising claims, the FTC has already pursued marketers, endorsers and agencies connected with offending ads, with media firms next in line. The regulator has already clamped down on some shopping channels.

“There is nothing in the FTC act that prevents us [from pursuing media companies],” Anthony warned. “We are looking at all advertising and where it is running.”

She added that the watchdog would prefer regulation of ads to be undertaken voluntarily by the media industry, though attempts to encourage this have so far been fruitless.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff