Media firm looks to remove candidate disclosures on mobile campaign ads

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If one media agency gets its way, “I approve this message” clauses on smart phones will be a thing of the past.

With smart phones and other digital devices, touch screen real estate is always at a premium. Banners and mobile ads are simply too small for the extra text of a disclaimer, writes Byron Tau in Politico

This little area has led Revolution Messaging, founded by Obama for America’s external online director Scott Goodstein, to ask the federal government to exclude candidate disclosures on mobile ads.

Most ads designed for mobile platforms, according to Revolution, do not have enough pixels to include more the dozen or so words required to determine the candidate who paid for the ad. Disclosures would take up nearly half of the available space for a mobile ad, they say.

Federal law requires candidates to include a variety of the candidate “approving this message.” PACs, super PACs, nonprofits and other groups advocating for or against federal candidates must attach a “clear and conspicuous” disclaimer of who paid for the ad.

However, the Federal Election Commission does exclude “smaller” advertising from disclosure. Phones – including new iPhone 5S — are simply too small for disclaimer language, and they should enjoy same exemption as bumper stickers, buttons and pens and other tiny items, Revolution argues.

In recent years, the use of mobile ads has exploded, and in 2012, the FEC allowed campaign donations by text. During the same election cycle, the Obama campaign was the target of a negative text message campaign, discovered to have come from a conservative advertising agency. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.