Howard Bell, Advertising Industry Icon, Retires from National Advertising Review Board

Wallace S. Snyder, AAF President Emeritus, Assumes NARB Helm; Alan Cohen Named Vice-Chairman, NARB

New York, NY – Sept. 30, 2014 – Howard H. Bell, an architect of advertising industry self-regulation, is retiring from his 14-year role as Chairman of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).  Wallace S. Snyder, President Emeritus of the American Advertising Federation, succeeds Mr. Bell as NARB Chairman.

NARB serves as the court of appeals for the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system. This prestigious body is made up of 70 advertising-industry professionals and public members chosen for their stature and experience.

“The work of the NARB panels personifies the industry’s commitment to high standards of truth and accuracy,” said C. Lee Peeler, President and CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council. “Advertising industry leaders of the caliber of Mr. Bell and Mr. Snyder underscore the importance to the industry of NARB’s peer-review process. They are generous mentors, gracious advisors and effective leaders. We are remarkably grateful for their service and both the advertising industry and American consumers are better for it.”

Mr. Bell pioneered today’s national advertising self-regulation system. While at the National Association of Broadcasters code authority in the 1950s, he helped draft the Television Code and create the Television Bureau of Advertising. In 1963, Mr.  Bell was appointed director of the NAB Code Authority and was responsible for the administration, interpretation and enforcement of the radio and television codes.

Mr. Bell brought his experience with code enforcement to the task of building a self-regulatory system for U.S. advertisers. His vision of responsible advertising practices and his collaboration with the leadership of the 4A’s, AAF, Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), led to creation of the NARB in 1971.

Mr. Bell served as President & CEO of the AAF for nearly 25 years, from 1968 to 1992, when he joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP.

Mr. Bell is the recipient of numerous industry honors, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and identified by Advertising Age magazine as one of the 100 most influential advertising leaders of the 20th century.

Mr. Snyder currently is Executive Director of the Institute for Advertising Ethics, a partnership of the Missouri School of Journalism and the AAF. He has devoted his professional life to the development of advertising industry regulation, self-regulation and ethics. He served as a trial lawyer and manager at the Federal Trade Commission in the 1970s and 1980s where he led many of the FTC’s advertising enforcement actions. He joined the AAF in 1985 and served as president and CEO from 1992 to 2008. Mr. Snyder was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2009.

During his tenure at the AAF, Mr. Snyder also served as a member of the ASRC Board of Directors, which is responsible for setting policies and developing procedures for advertising industry self-regulation.  Before his appointment as NARB Chair, Mr. Snyder served as an NARB panel member.

We also are announcing the new position of NARB Vice-Chairman. The Vice-Chairman will assist the chair and serve as substitute when the chair is unavailable.

Alan L. Cohen has been named Vice-Chairman. Mr. Cohen previously served as Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the CBBB. He started with the CBBB in 1988 and served as Deputy General Counsel prior to October 2005.

From 1983 to 1988, Mr. Cohen worked as counsel for Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. He has also worked as an attorney for the FTC and the Alexandria, Virginia Legal Aid Society.  Mr. Cohen currently serves NARB as a consultant.

Established in 1971, the NARB appeals process is an integral part of the advertising
industry’s system of self-regulation and provides for the peer review of decisions reached by NAD and the Children’s Advertising Review Unit.

Nearly 40 appeals have been heard in the past five years. NARB panels are routinely called to address issues of concern to advertisers and consumers such as the appropriate standards for testing of products as diverse as pet food and motor oil, the proper presentation of images in advertising and the appropriate role of disclosures and disclaimers in advertising.

The all-volunteer panels are unfailing well prepared, actively engaged and always champions of the crucial role that high standards for truthfulness and accuracy play in the advertising industry.