Advertising lobbyists are preparing a counter offensive to protect
Europe’s off-the-page ads industry from what they claim will be its
virtual annihilation by European MPs and the loss of thousands of jobs.
A European parliamentary committee in Brussels dealt a body blow to the
industry on Tuesday, when it approved severe restrictions on cold
calling and dashed hopes that financial services would not be included
in the new curbs.
The European Publishers Council, representing 28 of the Continent’s
leading news-paper and magazine publishers, warned that the latest moves
‘sound the death knell of the distance-selling industry’.
It also fears the possible highly damaging effect on its members’
subscriptions, which are dependent on telephone sales.
Sir Frank Rogers, the council’s chairman, accused the Euro MPs of
‘flying in the face of commercial reality’.
Philip Circus, legal affairs director at the Institute of Practitioners
in Advertising, declared: ‘This is just one of the obstacles advertising
can expect to face from a left-wing biased Euro Parliament.’
Meanwhile, Lionel Stanbrook, the Advertising Association’s political
affairs director, claimed that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs could be
lost if the restrictions were adopted throughout the European Union.
The proposed Distance Selling Directive stops short of an outright ban
on cold calling, but restricts contracts made over the phone by allowing
a ‘cooling-off’ period, during which credit card customers would be
allowed to change their minds.
The AA and the Federation of European Direct Marketeers is planning to
appeal to the Euro MPs to think again. The IPA is also monitoring the
situation closely. Nick Phillips, its director general, said: ‘We must
guard against anything that’s a threat to through-the-line flexibility.’