Day on the Hill

By April 17, 2019 No Comments

When you’re knee-deep in building out a creative campaign, or trying to hit your media sales goal for the month, most advertising people are NOT thinking about the local and federal policies that enable your job.  

This week, at the American Advertising Federation’s national Day on the Hill, I learned just how important it is NOT to lose sight of these things, and represented the Phoenix Chapter in an effort to remind legislators of the same.

The laws that enable the advertising industry aren’t just nice to haves – they’re critical to our survival. There’s two in particular that we focused on:

Advertising has been, for more than 100 years, tax deductible for businesses as a necessary cost of doing business.

Businesses can afford to advertise, in part, because of this law. Imagine if that changed. If companies could no longer deduct the costs of their advertising spend, the impact that would have on their ability to market their products and services.

Many times over the past 30 years, however, and even during discussions around the 2017 tax bill, legislators have tried to justify changing that structure.

In 1988, Florida even passed a law to do it.

The effects were swift and painful. Advertisers pulled back to account for the hit to their bottom line. Agencies lost budgets, media companies lost placements.

Six months later, the effect was so harmful to the state’s economic growth, that Flo

What does this mean?

Advertising must stay 100% tax deductible.

Nearly 20% of the country’s jobs could be at stake if advertising were to disappear, and the economy would not be able to grow at the same rate.

Next time you see news challenging these well-documented effects with a proposed cut on or removal of the deduction, call or write your representatives immediately. Explain how your livelihood depends on businesses being able to spend funds on our skill sets.

The second topic is perhaps even more pressing.

If you’re in advertising today, you know that digital spending is on the rise, in large part due to the results it can generate.

Those results come from the ability to reach the right audiences with the right messaging to help them find products they’re interested in, when they’re interested.

No longer are ads entirely mass appeal; consumers are able to see what’s actually relevant to them online, and do so using free-to-them platforms like Facebook and Google to do.

Of course, data is needed for this. Data is what drives Google to provide you with the search results you need, and the ads that help you get to what you’re looking for.

But in the fast-paced environment of today, data has been misused.

That’s why AAF is advocating for a federal privacy standard, leveraging the self-regulating expertise of the Digital Advertising Alliance.

This group is helping ensure that the industry’s bad actors are caught and punished. This group operates as a consortium of unbiased experts who can regulate from a place of knowledge.

They – and AAF – argues that data needs protection, and that a federal standard with DAA’s guidance would be much more effective than what alternatives we see today: 1) A widespread, government-driven law like GDPR, which is causing an onerous effect on consumers and a harmless effect on small media companies and 2) A state-by-state patchwork of laws that will make national digital advertising incredibly difficult, and risk previously unreported consumer data now being collected and reported to the government.

As your state and local representatives craft new laws, pay attention and advocate for your industry. Check out AAF and DAA’s resources and find out how to get involved.

The future of our industry, and our data, depends on it.