Fight against Mandated Disclosures Takes a Hit

May 18, 2016

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Edward Chen has issued a decision in the American Beverage sugar-sweetened beverage case to deny preliminary injunctive relief. The case revolves around a San Francisco ordinance requiring a major health warning on ads for certain sugar sweetened beverages that would take up 20% of the ad space. ANA believes this mandated disclosure violates the First Amendment by seizing space on those ads to carry a compelled government message.  

ANA previously filed an amicus brief in support of the American Beverage Association (ABA)’s fight against this San Francisco ordinance. In our brief, we argue that the ordinance could set a very dangerous precedent for other products and services that fall in disfavor with some government body. “The First Amendment protects marketers from these types of efforts by the government to require companies to vilify their own products.” This case is very important for the entire marketing community because if it stands, it could pave the way for the more than 30,000 local governments across the country to try to commandeer space on ads whenever they feel like sending a government message.

We expect the plaintiffs to appeal the preliminary injunction denial. In the meantime, ANA will continue to fight against this misguided mandated disclosure ordinance and others like it throughout the country.


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