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    Subject Term: Advertising

    10 publications with a total of 25 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Federal Trade Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to clarify whether drive-through windows require disclosures.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to describe what constitutes clear and conspicuous disclosure, including minimum signage dimensions and font size for disclosures.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to explain and provide examples of which communications are advertising.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in consultation with officials from the military service components and the JAMRS office, to develop a formal process for coordination on crosscutting issues to facilitate better leveraging of resources. As part of this process, DOD could review existing advertising programs to identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary duplication, overlap, and fragmentation and obtain potential efficiencies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, a DOD official from the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness stated that a working group drafted an Instruction on DOD advertising and marketing and this instruction will be signed within the next 30 days. The instruction requires that the relevant departmentwide office will meet quarterly with the military service marketing representatives to discuss best practices and to look for efficiencies. Further, the official stated that the Army has directed the Army National Guard to work through Army Marketing and Research Group regarding their marketing efforts, which consolidates all Army marketing efforts within one office. The Air force is also in discussion to determine how best to consolidate the marketing efforts of its Guard and Reserve components with the Active Duty to gain efficiencies. We will monitor the issuance of the instruction and the efforts of the Air Force to consolidate activities.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to ensure that each military service component fully measure advertising performance. This should include both the identification of measurable goals in future versions of the service components' advertising plans and assurance that the service components have access to the necessary performance data to determine the effectiveness of their advertising activities for lead generation activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, a DOD official from the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness stated that a working group drafted an Instruction on DOD advertising and marketing and this instruction will be signed within the next 30 days. The instruction requires that the relevant department-level office will meet quarterly with the military service marketing representatives to discuss best practices and to look for efficiencies. Upon issuance of the instruction, we will assess the direction provided to the services in the instruction regarding performance measurement.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to ensure, as the department undertakes its effort to issue a department-wide policy for advertising, that this policy (1) clearly defines DOD's role in overseeing the advertising activities of military service components; (2) clarifies issues related to sports-related advertising; and (3) outlines procedures that should guide the components' advertising activities for other types of advertising, such as music concerts, other event advertising, and digital advertising.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, a DOD official from the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness stated that a work group session was held in October 2016 and based on the outcome of that work group, DOD has drafted an Instruction on DOD advertising and marketing. That instruction is currently in the "Pre-Signature" phase as a priority instruction which means it should be signed and published within the next 30 days. We will continue to monitor the issuance of this instruction.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of FCC should review joint sales agreements (JSA) filed in stations' public inspection files to identify stations involved in those JSAs and take action to ensure that each station involved has filed its JSA as required.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, FCC officials stated that the agency has not taken any action related to this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of initiatives directed at increasing the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service Secretaries, to develop an oversight framework that includes or incorporates (consistent with applicable law): (1) Service-wide program goals for initiatives directed at female officers' recruitment, such as goals related to the composition of the applicant pool; (2) Performance measures linked to program goals; and (3) Resource allocations linked to program goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of initiatives directed at increasing the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service Secretaries, to conduct evaluations for key recruitment initiatives to help ensure these initiatives are achieving their intended purpose.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve the Coast Guard's management of initiatives to increase the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop an oversight framework that includes or incorporates (consistent with applicable law): (1) Service-wide program goals for initiatives directed at female officers' recruitment, such as goals related to the composition of the applicant pool; (2) Performance measures linked to program goals; and (3) Resource allocations linked to program goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve the Coast Guard's management of initiatives to increase the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should conduct evaluations for key recruitment initiatives to help ensure these initiatives are achieving their intended purpose.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop and implement policies and procedures for responding to nonroutine CCIIO-related financial management information requests, including procedures for documenting the preparation process and the review and approval of the results.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) disagreed with this recommendation. HHS management indicated that it has up-to-date and clearly documented standard operating procedures (SOP) for its normal day-to-day work processes, and did not believe that non-standard data requests lend themselves to documented, standard SOPs. In May 2016, HHS indicated that its position on this issue has not changed. In June 2017, HHS indicated that its position on this issue has not changed. GAO believes the recommendation is still valid.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify and evaluate options to facilitate more timely and independently verifiable reporting of CCIIO-related financial management information, such as enhancing Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System's standard reporting or custom reporting capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) disagreed with this recommendation. HHS indicated that it tracks appropriations in accordance with all relevant federal laws and regulations, and that the information was complete and verifiable. Federal accounting concepts and standards concerning managerial cost accounting allow flexibility for agency managers to develop costing methods that are best suited to their operational environment. HHS indicated that would continue to evaluate options of enhancing the standard and/or custom reporting capabilities of its core financial system; the Health Integrated General Ledger System (HIGLAS). In May 2016, HHS indicated that its position on this issue has not changed. In June 2017, HHS indicated that its position on this issue has not changed. GAO believes the recommendation is still valid.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: FCC should determine whether it needs to collect additional data to understand the prevalence and context of broadcaster agreements. FCC should also evaluate whether broadcaster agreements affect its media policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC has acknowledged the need for more information to be able to determine the extent to which sharing agreements between television broadcasters may affect diversity, competition, and localism. As a result, FCC required that commercial television stations disclose their sharing agreements in their public inspection files. In May 2017, FCC said that the agency has not done any new analysis since issuing the new disclosure requirement. We will continue to monitor whether FCC conducts any new analysis of whether broadcaster agreements affect the agency's media policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity as called for by our recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that veterans' education benefits are used effectively, the Secretary of VA should take additional steps to improve the outreach, accessibility, and usefulness of its educational counseling services, particularly for prospective student veterans, for example by (1) featuring these services in resources intended for prospective students veterans; (2) prioritizing efforts to enable veterans to apply for educational counseling online; and (3) considering cost-effective ways to gather more information on applicants, users, and key program areas (such as the timeliness of service) to better identify service needs or gaps and to improve the effectiveness of future outreach.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA has taken steps and is planning additional work to improve the accessibility and usefulness of its educational counseling services, especially for prospective student veterans. Specifically, VA has incorporated an online application and some additional information about educational counseling on its website. However, VA is in the process of transitioning to a new website, vets.gov, which is not yet fully operational. Additionally, the current pathway within that website for prospective student veterans to learn about educational counseling is not completely clear, and VA officials noted that they are working on specific sequencing for the new website to present that information. VA has estimated that the new website will be fully operational by the end of March 2017. At that time, GAO will review the new website to make sure that prospective student veterans who want help on how to use their education benefits effectively have an easy-to-follow pathway to access information explaining VA's educational counseling services and the different ways to apply for these services.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider strengthening the current consumer privacy framework to reflect the effects of changes in technology and the marketplace--particularly in relation to consumer data used for marketing purposes--while also ensuring that any limitations on data collection and sharing do not unduly inhibit the economic and other benefits to industry and consumers that data sharing can accord. Among the issues that should be considered are: (1) the adequacy of consumers' ability to access, correct, and control their personal information in circumstances beyond those currently accorded under FCRA; (2) whether there should be additional controls on the types of personal or sensitive information that may or may not be collected and shared; (3) changes needed, if any, in the permitted sources and methods for data collection; and (4) privacy controls related to new technologies, such as web tracking and mobile devices.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Congress has not taken action on this matter.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    7 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use evaluation results, response rate, and other data to develop a predictive model that would inform decisions on how much and how best to allocate paid media funds for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During 2013, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessments of the 2010 communications campaign. The Bureau concluded that extra investment of advertising in certain markets increased awareness of the Census. During 2015, the Bureau conducted research and testing on activities to support planning for the 2020 communications campaign. The Bureau based its testing, in part, on evaluation results of paid media activities the 2010 integrated communications program. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the contractor will develop a paid media plan based on tests of advertising with target audiences and complete analysis of media buys. The contractor will develop an ad tracking system to help inform decisions on allocating paid media funds for 2020. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated action on this recommendation is due by December 31, 2017, and as of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in developing its approach for the 2020 Integrated Communications Program.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to develop mechanisms to increase coordination and communication between the partnership and local census office staff. Possible actions include offering more opportunities for joint training, establishing protocols for coordination, and more effectively leveraging the partnership contact database to better align partnership outreach activities with local needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessment of the partnership program. According to the Bureau, the Regional Partnership is developing a strategy for the 2020 Census Partnership and Outreach Program. In September 2014, the Bureau's Path to the 2020 Census, identified the Partnership Program as one of the best methods for communicating the importance of response and states its intent to map out details about the Partnership Program in early 2016. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will collaborate with program areas, the Field Division, and regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are gathering artifacts that they believe may demonstrate progress with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the user-friendliness of the partnership database to help ensure more timely updates of contact information and enhance its use as a management tool.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program that highlighted user problems with the partnership database. One of the report's recommendations was to ensure ease of data entry for users of the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD). In 2014, the Bureau reported the agency is continuing to modifications to the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD) system and discussing options for improving the efficiency and usability of the IPCD. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will work closely with the regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated that action on this recommendation is due by September 30, 2017. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in improving the efficiency and usability of its partnership database.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that promotional materials, including in-language materials for the partnership program, are available when partnership staff are first hired.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program. One of the report's recommendations was to provide promotional materials that fit partner needs. During April 2014, Bureau reported its staff in the field and communications directorates have plans to review assessments, lessons learned reports and debriefings with key staff, stakeholders, and partners to inform an effective strategy for the development, production, and delivery of promotional materials, including non-English language materials, for the 2020 Census. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will produce materials such as promotional items for partners to use in promoting awareness of the census. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are attempting to identify and provide evidence that they met their April 1, 2017 deadline of implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to assess visitation, response rate, and other applicable data on Be Counted/QAC locations and use that information to revise site selection guidance for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During May 2012 the Bureau reported on its assessment of the Be Counted/ Questionnaire Assistance Center program. The assessment included information on the number of individuals counted and number of location established but did not identify response rates for hard-to enumerate groups. In April 2013, the Bureau reported on its assessment of coverage measurement issues related to hard-to-enumerate populations. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts such as Be Counted. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the factors that led to the staffing issues observed during SBE and take corrective actions to ensure more efficient SBE staffing levels in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2012, the Bureau issued its assessment of the Service Based Enumeration Program. The assessment reported on the number of individuals counted and the complexities of this special enumeration activity. The assessment did not address the Bureau's approach to staffing this special enumeration activity. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the extent to which each special enumeration activity improved the count of traditionally hard-to-enumerate groups and use the results to help inform decision making on spending for these programs in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau reported on assessments of many 2010 special enumeration activities such as the Service-Based Enumeration and the Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Center Programs. These assessments revealed the number of persons counted and spending for the special enumeration activities. Separately, the Bureau issued results of the 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Program that described the level of coverage of various hard-to-enumerate populations generally without attributing coverage to specific enumeration activities. In 2015, the Bureau issued its 2020 Census Operational Plan outlining design changes for enumeration activities. According to the Bureau, the changes are designed to optimize self-response and use administrative records and third party data to reduce field work. However, the Bureau had not provided details of its plans for various special enumeration activities. In April 2017 Bureau officials provided us with evaluation results of its 2010 communication efforts and other documents related to ongoing efforts to reduce errors in the census. As of mid-July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide other artifacts they believe may demonstrate that recommendation has been addressed.