|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Tuesday, April 11, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today received the results of a General Accounting Office survey of consumers about the U.S. Mint's advertising campaign that promotes the new dollar coin as a "golden dollar."
The GAO survey found that almost 40 percent of the people who had seen the Mint's advertisements believe that the coin contains gold or are not certain whether the coin contains gold. The percentage of people who expressed confusion about the coin's gold content was slightly higher among the elderly (about 44 percent) and people in the lowest income bracket (about 42 percent).
Gramm made the following statement:
"I want the dollar coin to be successful. I also understand aggressive marketing. But the level of confusion among consumers – especially the poor and elderly who can least afford to be misled – underscores my concern that the Mint has gotten carried away in this ad campaign.
"The Federal Trade Commission holds private companies to a high standard in their advertising claims. The federal government has to be willing to abide by standards at least as high, if not higher.
"I intend to ask the Federal Trade Commission to examine the GAO's findings and the advertising campaign of the U.S. Mint, including the planned Spanish-language ads. I want to know whether a private company would be called to task for ads that confuse a substantial number of the people who see them."