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The Truth-in-Advertising Movement

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The advertising industry ranked lower in public opinion than other businesses in the 1920s. Its practitioners were apt to be considered charlatans and hucksters. The Truth-in-Advertising Movement was the industry’s attempt at self-regulation. It arose out of efforts by the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World to respond to public fears that advertisers would observe no limits in the claims they made for their products.

Critics felt that while certain kinds of consumer deception had been brought under control, others more insidious and basic to the nature of advertising persisted. The ethical goals of self-regulation and truth in advertising allowed members of the advertising industry to present themselves as professionals while also enhancing their credibility with the public. The Associated Advertising Clubs’ activities gave rise to the National Better Business Bureau, which replaced the National Vigilance Committee.

Long live ethical advertising.

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