FTC ups 'Do Not Call' efforts

WASHINGTON: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has hired Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide under a one-year, $480,000 contract to assist with outreach helping the public to understand the National Do Not Call Registry and avoid telemarketing fraud.

WASHINGTON: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has hired Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide under a one-year, $480,000 contract to assist with outreach helping the public to understand the National Do Not Call Registry and avoid telemarketing fraud.

Under a mandate set by US Congress, numbers must be re-registered to remain on the list after five years. The education effort will include informing the public that registrations will start to expire in June 2008, as well as a reminder that some telemarketing pitches, including those for political candidates, are not prohibited by the registry.

Specific strategy and tactics for the initiative are still being determined, but will certainly focus online. The Web is the most popular means by which people sign up for the registry, noted Ogilvy project director Jeff White.

As with the initial launch of the registry, for which JDG Communications provided assistance, this latest outreach will seek to partner with nonprofits like AARP and other organizations that are concerned about telemarketing calls, added Nat Wood, assistant director of the FTC's division of consumer and business education.

"The partnerships could be with telemarketing companies, Internet service providers, even retailers - anyone with a trust relationship with consumers," Wood noted.

Wood said Congress could vote to lift the expiration requirement, but outreach would still target the many people who have acquired phone numbers since the start of the registry. The effort will also educate them about the related issue of telemarketing scams.

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