March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also the date for this year’s 'Advertising Day on the Hill'.
Perhaps that’s appropriate.
Former speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, an Irish-American, was fond of repeating the maxim, 'all politics is local'. To help get things done, lawmakers need to know what folks back home think of an issue.
Which is what 'Advertising Day on the Hill' is all about. It’s a day to dramatically demonstrate to lawmakers the power and passion of the advertising industry’s grassroots network. And this year, we’ve got some formidable issues to address.
For example, there are the issues of overbroad privacy regulations and unreasonable limitations on the use of data and how these measures could harm marketers’ ability to communicate with consumers. Limitations on the responsible use of data to serve interest-based advertising (IBA) would inhibit a marketers’ ability to provide consumers with ads for products in which they are most likely to be interested. IBA helps to underwrite much of the free content on the Internet.
Similarly, there is the harm an ad tax would have on our industry. We know from past experience that when Federal and State governments need to raise revenue, they often look to advertising. But increasing the cost of advertising leads to a trickle effect – more expensive advertising means less advertising, which means less revenue for the media, less information for consumers, fewer sales of goods and services and lower sales tax revenues.
I am proud to work alongside many fine professionals skillfully representing various parts of the industry in Washington, DC. AAF, working in tandem with the 4A's, ANA, IAB and others, is lobbying to create a national standard for the use of data so everyone – marketers, platforms, regulators and consumers – can know and trust the rules of the game. And we’ve been successful to date in thwarting efforts to impose an ad tax.
But where AAF is able to go one step further is by mobilising our membership of 35,000 advertising professionals in over 150 advertising clubs and 60 major corporations across the country. In other words, local. In fact, this very month, AAF 'grassroots' were successful in fighting an ad tax introduced in the Kentucky legislature.
In addition, many states, from Washington to New York, tired of waiting for Congress, are looking to pass their own laws. The worst of all possible outcomes would be a patchwork of inconsistent laws across the country making online advertising burdensome, if not impossible, for any business which hopes to do business across state lines. Here again, AAF’s grassroots are invaluable. When AAF ad clubs in a state join us in comments to state lawmakers about a bill, it makes the politics local by underscoring the impact to their own constituents.
Amplifying the voice from back home is what AAF's 'Advertising Day on the Hill' is all about.
I encourage agencies, marketers, media platforms and anyone else with a vested interest in the outcome of these matters to get involved. As a first step, learn more about how you can engage with elected representatives and staff online or in their home districts to educate them about the issues important to the advertising industry. Go to Advertising Day on the Hill here
Get involved. Be local. Know what to say when you are asked, “What are we hearing about this from the folks back home?”
Clark Rector is executive vice president, government Affairs, American Advertising Federation (AAF), overseeing and directing the lobbying efforts of AAF’s grassroots network of 35,000 advertising professionals in some 150 local advertising clubs and federations nationwide.