Advertising Under Attack

September 13, 1991 • Volume 1
Critics organize around race, sex, health and the environment
By Charles S. Clark


Advertising has long been a lightning rod for social criticism. But today's advertisers push their wares in a landscape teeming with well-L organized critics. Their concerns range from sexual and racial stereotyping to the promotion of health-threatening products, from hollow claims of environmental sensitivity to the explosion of advertising clutter. To bring about change, activist critics commit civil disobedience, lobby for restrictions on advertising and organize boycotts and letter-writing campaigns against offending corporations and the media. Beleaguered firms and advertising professionals are fighting back, claiming their First Amendment right of free speech is being trampled. But as ads are altered, or pulled from the market, it's clear the critics are having an impact.

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