Good Housekeeping

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After the passage of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rexford Tugwell sought to promote a government grading system. The Hearst Corporation opposed the policy in spirit, and began publishing a monthly tabloid attacking federal oversight. In 1939, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Good Housekeeping for "misleading and deceptive" guarantees including its Seal of Approval, and "exaggerated and false" claims in its advertisements. The publisher fought the proceedings for two years, during which time competing editors from the Ladies Home Journal and McCall's testified against Good Housekeeping. The FTC's ultimate ruling was against the magazine, forcing it to remove some claims and phraseology from its ad pages. The words "Tested and Approved" were dropped from the Seal of Approval. But the magazine's popularity was unaffected, steadily rising in circulation and profitability. In 1962, the wording of the Seal was changed to a guarantee of "Product or Performance", while dropping its endorsement of rhetorical promises made by the advertisers. In its varying forms, the Seal of Approval became inextricably associated with the magazine, and many others (e. g. , McCall's, Parents Magazine, and Better Homes and Gardens) mimicked the practice.

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