The Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA) has filed an amicus brief in a case challenging San Francisco’s health code provisions requiring advertisements on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to notify the public of alleged health risks associated with SSB consumption. Am. Beverage Ass’n v. City of San Francisco, No. 15-3415 (N.D. Cal., San Francisco Div., amicus brief filed January 22, 2016). The brief focuses on First Amendment arguments against requiring private parties to include government speech on their product labels.
“The City of San Francisco’s imposition of the Warning Mandate in reac- tion to potential over-consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by its citizens, whatever the merits of that concern, takes regulatory Nannyism to new levels and is wholly incompatible with First Amendment protec- tions afforded to commercial speech,” the brief argues. “If this Court were to uphold the Board of Supervisors’ conscription of sugar-sweetened beverage ads to convey government views on health issues there would be virtually no limit to similar efforts targeting other products, at any level of government. Every sugary, fatty, salty, processed, or other food disfavored by the science of the moment would be susceptible to having a significant portion of its advertising turned into a placard for government hectoring with which the advertiser not only disagrees, but for which there may be data controverting the government position.”
Details about the American Beverage Association’s lawsuit challenging the ordinance appear in Issue 573 of this Update, and information about the repealed ad ban on city property appears in Issue 586.