For our Washington, DC, office the past year was one of the busiest in recent history, as newly elected Democratic majorities in Congress sought to establish a more activist
agenda and several key regulatory agencies outlined ambitious new goals and priorities.
The most significant industry threat in over a decade came as a group of Congressional leaders sought to severely restrict—if not eliminate—direct-to-consumer marketing of prescription drugs, a $5 billion advertising category. The AAAA, along with other allied groups representing broadcasters, advertisers, newspapers, magazines, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, mounted a concerted campaign to educate these legislators about the consumer benefits of these ads and about the First Amendment right to market legal products. While industry arguments eventually prevailed, the outcome in both houses was uncertain right up until the final vote. This endeavor unified the industry and many of our members joined the effort by calling local Congressmen and sending letters and e-mails.
In another area of significance to our members, the AAAA continued to monitor proposals and initiatives involving marketing to minors, especially advertising for foods viewed as contributing to obesity in children, and served on the Joint Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity.
AAAA staff also volunteer their time to coordinate the contributions of the marketing industry’s only political action committee, Professionals in Advertising (PRO-AD PAC).
PRO-AD PAC continues to be one of the industry’s most effective channels for outreach, representing all segments of the business—agencies, clients, media and public relations.