Self-Regulation and Government Affairs
The list below is a sampling of Hall of Fame members who championed this issue.
  • Sidney R. Bernstein - was a strong defender of the right to advertise; he always insisted that it was a right laden in obligations, "Because we believe in the basic essential values of advertising, we have not hesitated to criticize - vigorously and positively - the things advertisers may do which we feel perform a disservice for advertising."
  • James S. Fish - was an outspoken supporter for self-regulation throughout the advertising industry. He was a leader in the Better Business Bureau movement and in the development of the National Advertising Review Board program.
  • Donald A. MacDonald - fought in defense of press freedoms and against legislation or regulation that could hamper the effectiveness of advertising.
  • Alfred J. Seaman - was a founding director of the National Advertising Review Board, another expression of his career-long interest in the creative improvement and self-regulation of advertising.
  • Victor Elting Jr. - made major contributions to the advertising industry by proposing and developing a program for advertising self-regulation. As a result of his efforts as chairman of the American Advertising Federation, in 1970 the National Advertising Review Board of the National Council of Better Business was established, which was an unprecedented voluntary responsibility by advertisers and agencies.
  • Allen Loren Billingsley - As the chairman of the board of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he helped organize that association's committee in improvement of advertising content and served as its first chairman. Under his leadership, the committee originated the "Interchange of Opinion on Objectionable Advertising," establishing a fair and voluntary, but effective, method for agency self-regulation of advertising. He lived his philosophy, "We who have hitched our wagons to advertising want it to measure up to ever proper public responsibility. We want it to be an efficient selling tool, but we want it to be a tool that commands respect and that reflects social responsibility."
  • Mac Martin - was a leader in the development of a self-regulatory agency in Minneapolis through which business could purge itself of dishonesty in advertising and selling, which would later become internationally known as the Better Business Bureaus.
  • Robert M. Feemster - His efforts to defend the industry from the government helped to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from ruling against advertising as a legitimate tax-deductible business expense. He also worked to block postal rate discrimination against the advertising content of newspapers and magazines. In 1961 Feemster made an important speech criticizing the FTC for conducting a broad "witch-hunt" aimed at undermining the ad industry. In 1962 he proposed a new tax law that would permit a business to set aside reserves for advertising. As chairman of the Advertising Federation of America , he started the annual mid-winter legislative conference with the federal government.
  • Philip Livingston Thomson - Thompson's involvement as volunteer president of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), was a post he vigorously filled for 23 years. In this role he journeyed widely, promoting business integrity and self-regulation as exemplified by ABC. Addressing international gatherings in London and Berlin, he was credited with fostering the UK's ABC (1931) and the former West Germany's IVW (1949).
  • Tom Dillon - In 1971 Tom Dillon was one of the chief industry presenters before the FTC on its "Case for Advertising." His bold and lucid testimony served to educate both the American government and its people on the advertising business.
  • Arthur Harrison Motley - fostered the recognition of advertising as the major driving force in our economy, using his motto, "Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something." A fervent opponent of government control of advertising, Motley advocated education instead of legislation to protect the rights of both companies and individuals in our system of free enterprise.
  • John O'Toole - As president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he protected and defended advertising from over-regulation, unfair taxation and threats to limit free speech and free choice. He once said, "We simply cannot allow the First Amendment to be legislated away. If we ever compromise, we've sold out the industry's future and made fools of those who shaped its past."
  • Michael J. Roarty - In an industry beleaguered by the specter of government regulation, Roarty took a pro-active approach to problems like drunk driving. Investing media dollars in consumer awareness programs like "Know when to say when," Anheuser-Busch became a model for corporations wishing to become associated with the solution instead of the problem.
  • Howard H. Bell - Bell's commitment to ethical advertising also led to self-regulation at the local level. Under his direction, in 1981, the American Advertising Federation launched the Local Advertising Review Program as a joint project with the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  • William LaMothe - Throughout his career, LaMothe was an outspoken advocate for advertising. He served as chairman of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the organization that embodies the industry's self-regulatory units, the National Advertising Review Board. LaMothe battled tirelessly for free enterprise, organizing forces in the late 1970s to mount a successful campaign against the FTC's "Shared Monopoly Case" targeting the ready-to-eat cereal industry.
  • Bernard T. Flanagan - As chairman of the American Advertising Federation in 1987, he was instrumental in helping defeat advertising tax initiatives at the state and national level. His famous "ax the tax" rally captured national attention and was featured on the NBC Nightly News. Of course, the tax was rescinded.
  • Philip H. Geier Jr. - He was the first chairman of PRO-AD PAC, the industry's political action arm. He was a prime mover in forming the Ad Tax Coalition, personally walking the halls of the Capitol building and pleading the industry's case to legislators. He is a staunch advocate of the First Amendment and was also a founding member of the European Advertising Tripartite, the combined effort of European clients, agencies and the media to ensure fair and balanced treatment for our industry by the EU in Brussels and Strasbourg.