Ad agencies support creating a new office at the Federal Communications Commission to deal with its new rule against discrimination in broadcast advertising contracts, according to an executive with the American Association of Advertising Agencies, but they don't think the Federal Trade Commission needs to be any more involved than it already is.
The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, which helped to push through the rule as part of the broader diversity initiative approved by the FCC last December, asked FCC chairman Kevin Martin to put someone in charge with compliance with the new rule, which went into effect July 15.
In reaction to that MMTC request, AAAA general counsel Adonis Hoffman said a dedicated FCC office made sense given what he called the "considerable ambiguity" about how the rule will work in practice.
"As the FCC moves forward with implementation and compliance, it makes sense to have a single office to answer the many questions that are sure to arise from broadcasters who have to certify and advertising agencies that are affected, as well," Hoffman said.
But according to Hoffman, the MMTC is also lobbying for a change in FTC regulations to expand its authority in this area, as well. “As for asking the FTC to monitor discrimination in advertising practices," he added, "I’m not sure that new authority is needed. The FTC already has fairly broad jurisdiction over almost everything that happens in the course of advertising products to the public and has shown no reluctance to act when there are abuses.”
Hoffman maintained that the ad industry already has a "solid reputation" of self-regulation and cooperating with the FTC on enforcement.