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This is a surprising book about the regulation of advertising. From the publisher's handouts and from the stuff on the jacket, and from the author's background too (he is a fabulous combination of advertising man-lawyer-Ph.D.-business executive), you expect an angry blast at the wicked bureaucrats. You know before you start where the signposts at those well-worn cross-roads point. One—the one labelled "Federal Regulation"—is the road to regimentation and socialism. The other—the one labelled "Voluntary Controls"—leads to free enterprise, gently and beneficently guided by trade associations.
No such thing. Dr. Geller is in favor of free enterprise all right. And he wishes advertisers would restrain themselves. But he demonstrates dispassionately that there are persistent strains of untruth and deception and bad taste in advertising. They are not entirely the product of fly-by-night operators either. The author points out that the Federal Trade Commission in one year, 1951, issued orders to refrain from deceptive practices against "such major advertisers as Sterling Drug, Bristol-Myers, Emerson Drug, P. Lorillard Company, Reynolds Tobacco Company, Miles Laboratories, American Tobacco Company, and many others."
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