Advertising is one of the most powerful consumerist tools because the methods used can persuade practically anyone to purchase anything. But all this power and control must be regulated somehow, which is why we have TV advertising laws. They are meant to protect the consumers, the television channels, as well as the companies that utilize advertising. TV advertising laws are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, and they have set certain guidelines that advertisers must adhere to or risk being fined or, in extreme cases, incarcerated.
One of the most important TV advertising laws is “truth in advertising” and it is meant to prevent exaggerations in promoting products or services. This regulation makes sure that when a company promotes their product they are doing so only by offering true and reliable information and that they are not trying to present said product as being better than it actually is. Moreover, certain products, such as tobacco and alcohol must also be accompanied by warnings about the possible negative side-effects these products can have on a consumer’s health.
An important reason for TV advertising laws is that forcing or guiding companies to truthfully advertise their products will also prevent them from setting exaggerated prices. But like we mentioned before, TV advertising laws are meant to protect the companies themselves too, not only costumers and television channels. This is why advertising agencies are subjected to these regulations as well. These laws make sure that an agency promotes a product as best they can, without damaging the already existing image of that product and without deceiving costumers. If a commercial is exaggerated and untrue, those suffering the repercussions will be the advertising agency and their client, the company or corporation.
While TV advertising laws try not to censor anyone’s vision or message, they are responsible of protecting consumers from potentially damaging or violent messages. The same happens with TV shows or programs, which are rated according to the level of violence and thus try to limit viewers to age-appropriate demographics. The laws of advertising differ from country to country of course, depending on that country’s political status, economical and cultural levels and values and its peoples’ preferences and way of thinking. Nevertheless, their purpose is the same, that to protect viewers and not let interested parties to take advantage of the trust they have in everything they see on television.