Vice President Al Gore is considering legal action against The Media Group, Stamford, CT. The DRTV marketer used without permission a public service announcement featuring Gore in one of its commercials. In the announcement, Gore encourages Americans to purchase weather radios to keep informed about severe storms. The public service announcement was made after Gore surveyed damage from a tornado that hit Alabama in 1994. Media Group used the announcement in a commercial selling the Weatherman radio, which is tuned to local broadcast stations that provide weather emergency information.
“Our office would like to see them stop using the vice president to sell products,” said Alejandro Cabrera, a press officer for Gore. “They have been doing this since January.”
The Vice President’s legal department has not yet decided what action it will take, if any, against The Media Group. As of press time, the Office of the Vice President, had been unsuccessful in trying to contact Sonny Howard, president of The Media Group.
“There has been no direct contact with them,” Cabrera said. “We have sent them letters, and left phone messages but every time we call for Mr. Howard he is either on vacation or not available. It is our understanding that he is aware of our problems with this issue.”
In an interview with DRTV News, Howard said that there are disclaimers at the beginning of the show which state that the Vice President does not endorse this particular radio.
“I gave their letter of complaint to my attorney,” Howard said. “It is clear that [Gore] is not promoting this system, besides, there are three other marketers of similar products using the same public service announcement.”
Gore’s staff became aware of the ad when a constituent called the Vice President’s comment line, and from there the matter was turned over to the legal department.
“If others are using the announcement the same way, our position would be the same,” said Cabrera. “But this is the only advertisement we are aware of.” n