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ANA Warns Of Ad 'Childproofing'

Where there's smoke, there's firewater.

The Association of National Advertisers is concerned that a California court case on tobacco ads could set an unsettling precedent for advertising booze, gambling, guns, and adult movies.

ANA is worried that the suit, which targets cigarette ads, could become a roadmap for trying to "childproof" advertising in the state.

“The theory of the plaintiffs in this case is unprecedented and sweeping," said ANA Executive VP Dan Jaffe. "They argue that there is no First Amendment protection whatsoever for advertising that ‘glamorizes’ products that are legal for adults but not legal for minors.  What they are really seeking to do is to limit ads directed to adults to content that is appropriate for minors.

A lower court threw out the suit, but the California Supreme Court is being asked to pick it up again.

ANA filed a "friend of the court" brief arguing that the court should reject the suit. “Over twenty years ago...the Supreme Court stated that efforts to restrict advertising cannot lower discourse in society to ‘the level of the sandbox,' "said Jaffe. "That is precisely what would happen," if the suit succeeded, he said.