Page images

give the public an incentive to read about products and then to use them.

No dry statement of fact could do that. No mere analysis of ingredients or their technical application would suffice. The most authoritative appraisal of them by Government itself, would leave the reader cold, uninterested, and unimpressed by the worthiest product if presented without emotional glamour, or the promise of personal benefit, which is the life of advertising.

People respond to advertising because it is like life itself, full of human incentives to get on in the world, be comfortable and have pleasure.

People want, and will always want, their information about merchandise in the cheerful, inspiring, and optimistic mood of advertising. There is no substitute for that. They want to feel that a given product will do something to make life brighter and better--more endurable and less drab-for themselves and their children. That's half the fun of owning and using, of striving and earning.

The influence of advertising is enormous in these respects. It induces effort, raises the standards of living, sustains courage, keeps a brimming tide of merchandise flowing from producer to consumer.

And advertising would fail and shrivel if you dispelled its pleasing aspects, its emotional appeal, its cheerful promise of a better, brighter or easier way--all within the limits of worthy goods honestly presented.

No government can afford to tamper with that force. It runs through the human heart. It moves the human will. It idealizes a world of things. Those who look upon this force as waste must

. think the same of life itself with all its vanity, hope and aspiration motivating progress.

The value of advertising to the consumer as well as to the producer might be seriously impaired if the Tugwell bill by implication or inference authorizes the Secretary to make Government classifications of quality and grade of foods, based on analysis and inspection, and then himself advertise those grades to the public.

Doing so might discourage producers from advertising their own brands and trade-marks, upon which millions of consumers have come to rely in their choice of food, and thousands of factories have come to depend for moving their output. The latter might lose much of their incentive to pack a fine product, if the Government grades prevailed. There would be much less consumption, without the inviting appeal of advertising. The food industries would suffer.

While many consumers might be guided by Government standards in their purchase of food, they would not be encouraged to purchase, take no pleasure in choosing their favorite brands. Government appeal would have a deadening effect upon them and upon trade. People do not want to be regimented in their purchases any more than they want to be regimented in any other respect. They want liberty of selection through the inviting and attractive appeal of the printed word.

Advertising would still persist, of course, because people want it; but it would be seriously impaired by Government competition.

Fixing minimum standards or grades would be a safeguard to the public, without interfering with the advertising of brands or slowing down of the demand for meritorious food. There could be no objection to that.

The CHAIRMAN. The next speaker is Mr. William L. Daley, Washington representative of the National Editorial Association.


Mr. DALEY. My name is William L. Daley, and I am the Washington representative of the National Editorial Association.

I am appearing on behalf of the National Editorial Association to protest the provisions of bill S. 1944, commonly called the Tugwell bill. Our association represents directly and by affiliates 12,000 newspapers located mainly in the smaller cities and towns of each of the 48 States. The association has been in existence for 50 years and during that time has been the recognized spokesman for several hundred small city dailies and all of the so-called country weekly press.

At the outset let it be understood that we believe that in the main some of the objectives of the bill are laudible. The plan in its present form is sufficiently spacious to raise grave doubts in our minds as to its practical aspects. Much of the testimony adduced before their subcommittee by previous speakers shows quite clearly that present laws are adequate or could be made effective by a few amendments in order to clear out any undesirable undergrowth that has cropped out here and there in the industries covered by this bill.

It would be foolhardy for the Congress, in its wisdom, to acquiesce in this proposition, which would place axes in the hands of one or two officials to be used at will and without any substantial legal checks. Much has been said by previous speakers about the prop that this affords to bureaucracy. I do not believe that there is any

I industrial or professional group which has more intimate knowledge of the workings of bureaucrats than small-town publishers and printers. It is only natural that in view of experience that the smalltown press should resent any proposal that smacks of bureaucracy on any bill that will clothe Government employees with power to build up what may amount to vicious tyranny.

This bill would bestow on the bureaucrats the mechanism of power so that all their acts based upon their own ideas or whims would have a halo of legality under this proposed law. They are in a position to propose restraints on the ground of general interest, whereas, it might simply be a case of conflicting opinions between government experts and equally efficient technical men in the employ of private interests. Unlimited power entrusted to bureaucrats warps their judgment on the opinions they might have as normal citizens. It may be compared to what the notorious Max Weber, in a discussion upon municipal enterprise at the Vienna congress of the Verein fur Socialpolitik declared,

I should think myself a very poor bureaucrat indeed, if I did not believe myself to know better than these blockheads what is really good for them.

We want little of this bureaucracy in America.

Professor Tugwell in one of his propaganda articles in behalf of this bill, appearing in a trade paper September 16, said, “By far the most flagrant abuses are found in * small dailies,


country weeklies.” The professor pays his compliments to the majority of American newspapers in the declaration that,

Many small-town newspapers salve their consciences for advertising perfectly worthless and often dangerous products by charging a higher advertising rate for this type of copy.

The Professor is apparently referring to the horse and buggy days of the newspapers and the advertising business. This unfair statement of this Government advocate greatly exaggerates the present day situation. Unfortunately he has been so busy fostering his pet theories that he has not taken the trouble to inquire into present practices. The rank and file of American newspapers, particularly in the small towns, are as zealous in guarding their columns against frauds as any ethical medical journal, for they have the same definite responsibility to their readers. Contrary of Dr. Tugwell's ideas that the average newspaper cannot curb its cupidity, as he inferred, we call your attention to the inescapable fact that it would be suicidal for a publication, which must depend upon the public patronage to be a party to a deal in which its readers are flim-flammed by fraudulent advertising

The national and State organizations of newspaper publishers exercise the utmost vigilance in policing the columns of their member papers against fraudulent advertising. Every known fraud is reported in special bulletins and a warning sounded against the acceptance of advertising copy from these sources. As a consequence advertising valued at thousands of dollars is turned down because copy is questionable. However, I do not suppose that we should take Professor Tugwell's charges too seriously. It is an established fact that all crusaders and reformers would have it appear that those who disagree with them are besottedly selfish.

The reasons for our interest in this bill are obvious. Commodities affected represent substantial percentages of our advertising revenue.

We do not fear the bill because of the type of products represented in the “Chamber of Horrors” and paraded here yesterday, or any other product genuinely dangerous to health.

The reason we oppose the bill is that we believe that it adversely affects the interests of legitimate small-town advertising and the prosperity of the small-town and rural population on whose buying power the value of our advertising depends.

From the standpoint of its effects on the advertising of legitimate products we endorse the position of our advertising competitors, the magazine publishers. In fact, we feel that in certain respects our problem is more pressing than theirs. They are to some extent protected by long-term advertising contracts while much of our advertising is booked from week to week.

Volume national food and drug advertising in small-town newspapers: A study of six recent issues of the average small-town paper, both daily and weekly, shows that approximately 17 percent of the total lineage including local (other than classified, professional cards and public notices) is covered by advertising of commodities listed under the terms of this bill. It represents more than 25 percent of the total advertising revenue. To show you how greatly publications are interested permit me to give you a few citations. (See exhibit.) Scare the national advertisers with the phrasing of the advertising clause and at a single stroke you reduce not only the national advertising of our members, but also the local advertising which represents a substantial portion of the income on which their very existence depends

Substitute the prestige of Government grading of food products for the advertised national brands and you further reduce the income of our members in the same two ways.

Many manufacturers of foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other products covered by this proposed bill use cooperative advertising. By cooperative advertising I mean that they sell their products to the retailers in the various communities and by mutual agreement defray a part of the advertising cost of copy placed with the local newspaper. It is a sales method that is known in newspaper and advertising circles as the “50–50 plan.” At times, it is on an unlimited 50-50 basis; in other cases, a set amount is appropriated; some manufacturers are willing to set aside a percentage of the purchases of the dealers to be met by a like amount from the dealer and used for advertising in the local paper. New forms of competition are constantly creeping into the field to further divide the advertising dollar.

The cooperation of the small-town daily and weekly newspaper with the local merchant does not end with the publication of an advertisement. The local publisher encourages the merchant in his town to have window and counter displays hooking up with their weekly advertisements, particularly so when a nationally advertised article is being pushed. In other words, the publisher is interested in the ultimate success of the advertising campaign and not simply from a dollar and cent standpoint. It is our opinion, based upon surveys, that much of this cooperative advertising will be abolished if this proposed bill is enacted into law. If the local merchant cannot be assured that the manufacturer or distributor will assist him in paying his advertising bills for the sales promotion of products on his shelves then it is idle for the small-town publisher to expect this retailer to advertise to any degree in his local publication.

If the restrictions on adjectives and descriptive matter, as contemplated in this bill, are carried to a logical conclusion it is obvious that the writers of advertising copy in local newspaper offices or in the advertising departments of local merchants will have much difficulty in locating words in the dictionary, which will convey a meaning to the buying public as to the merchandise offered and at the same time keep them out of jail, if these words are objectionable to a few individuals in the Department of Agriculture. Small-town daily or weekly newspapers exist largely from the revenues derived from the sale of local advertising. National advertising, unless it has the socalled dealer hook-up whereby a portion of the expenses defrayed by the producer represents only a small percentage of the publisher's income from advertising.

It may not be apparent to you who are not continuously engaged with the business of advertising to what extent the prosperity of the farm is tied in with the continual appeal of advertising to the appetites of people in all sizes of towns, but you may feel certain that our membership has no doubts on that score. Reduce this appeal for canned fruits and vegetables and for other classes of food products and present over-production of farm products will be even greater than it is now.

Nor is it important from our point of view whether farmers do or do not realize this in advance of the fact. Reduce the demand for farm products, the prices which are paid for them and you will have struck a deadly blow at the buying power of not only the farm, but of all small-town people who exist by serving the farmer. On this buying power the value of our publications as advertising media is based.

Consequently we propose as have our competitors that the wording of definitions and false advertising be changed, that the setting of Government standards for food products be limited to the protection of the public health and that section 22 with its voluntary inspection service be stricken from the bill.

The small-town publisher interested in this distributor should not be responsible for conditions for which the manufacturer is directly at fault. The public is accustomed to complaining to dealers with the expectations that the complaint will be laid at the door of the producer. A dealer, like the ultimate consumer is influenced by the representations of the manufacturer or his accredited agents.

It is the repressive influence on legitimate advertising which the bill inspires to which we object.

Finally, the small-town publishers do not believe that economic conditions justify tampering with the existing laws on a wholesale scale. Advertising is a vital public force that is essential to recovery. There are more urgent legislative matters that deserve the full attention of Congress. The drastic revisions proposed here are by no means emergency matters. On the contrary, it is obviously a bold bid for more power. The Government's case is comparable to that other guardian of the public—the officious policeman who clubbed a friend and explained, "It 'taint because I hate ye that I beat ye, 'tis because I have the authority."

The CHAIRMAN. The women of this country are interested in this bill, and I have observed a number of women in the audience. Those here present want to hear from the women of our country. I want, first, to call on Mrs. William Dick Sporborg, of Port Chester, N.Y.

[ocr errors]




Mrs. SPORBORG. Thank you, Senator.

The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Sporborg is one of our leading citizens and very much interested in all of these matters of public concern and we are very much interested in hearing what she has to say in regard to this matter.

Mrs. SPORBORG. Mr. Senator and members of the Senate subcommittee, at the risk of being out of order, and since I am the first woman who has been permitted to appear your

deliberations here, I want to state and have it put in the records that I am sure that I voice the consensus of opinion of all men and women in this audience when I pay tribute to you, Senator Copeland, for your fairmindedness, your patience, and your good humor which has thrown out such a genial atmosphere during this hearing. [Loud and continued applause.) You have heard that I am a direct constituent of Senator Copeland of New York, but you are all indirect constituents of his and I am glad that your enthusiastic applause has proved that you do

« PreviousContinue »