“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”—William Bernbach, cofounder, Doyle Dane Bernbach
Since the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) was founded more than 10 years ago, one of the key objectives of the program has been to provide the direct response industry with a mechanism of self-regulation that addresses the ongoing needs of the industry. ERSP has made a concerted effort to meet this objective through the facilitation and administration of a publicly recognized forum to monitor substantive, core claims being disseminated in direct response advertising and doing our best to get egregious, unsupported claims removed quickly. Part of our effort includes demonstrating to government agencies and other regulators that direct response marketers are committed to meaningful voluntary self-regulation.
ERSP Review ProgramIn 2012, as part of this endeavor, ERSP was approached by a group of companies in the coaching and mentoring industry who were very concerned with increased government scrutiny of companies providing such services through the use of telemarketing. Subsequently, ERSP created a program (“the ERSP Review Program”) to monitor and review advertising and telemarketing in the coaching and mentoring industry. The ERSP Review Program has two fundamental components: 1) Review of telemarketing calls and accompanying scripts; and 2) Dedicated monitoring of direct response lead generation advertising applicable to the coaching and mentoring industry including print, broadcast, and online advertising. What started as an initiative of two companies has now grown to include eight different companies and has expanded to include the monitoring and review of representations made at free real estate investing seminars.
Over the past several years, ERSP has been approached by several marketers who have inquired about a “copy review” service, one in which they could submit advertising in its early stages for direction regarding the messages that are being communicated by the advertisement (i.e., net impression) and to receive some guidance about the type of evidence that should be considered to support their potential claims.
Copy Review ServiceIn an effort to address this request, in July 2014, ERSP announced its new Copy Review Service, which is designed to provide direct response marketers with a mechanism to have advertising reviewed by an independent third party. In creating this service, ERSP recognized the importance of clarifying a few important caveats. For example, the ERSP Copy Review:
- Does not involve a review of evidence that a company may be using to substantiate claims;
- Does not constitute an approval of claims in advertising;
- Does not constitute an endorsement of the advertised product that was the subject of the review; and
- Is designed to complement the legal advice a company should be obtaining, and should not be thought of as a substitute for legal counsel.
ERSP believes that the addition of this service to our existing self-regulatory portfolio provides the direct response advertising community with a new tool to refine their advertising, and we encourage you take the opportunity to acclimate yourself with ERSP’s new service offering.
While we certainly hope you will avail yourself of the ERSP Copy Review Service and keeping in mind the entrepreneurial spirit of ERA members, you can be sure that ERSP will continue to carefully consider other products and services to address the needs of the direct response industry.
More information about the ERSP Copy Review Service may be found at http://www.asrcreviews.org/category/ersp/copy-review/ or by contacting Peter Marinello at (212) 705-0126.
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