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September 17, 1993|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mercedes Sets New Ad Rules: Mercedes-Benz of North America has told about 30 magazines not to run its ads in any issue with articles that may reflect poorly on Germany or the company. In a letter sent through its advertising agency last month, the company wrote, "Any issue containing editorial denigrating to Mercedes-Benz . . . or containing material that may lead to a negative bias toward German products should not carry a Mercedes-Benz advertisement." If an ad is not postponed, the company's letter says, it may not pay for the space or may later seek free space of comparable size. Some industry executives and analysts questioned whether the request could censor a publication's content. "I think it potentially has a rather chilling effect," said Everett Dennis, executive director of the Freedom Forum, a media research group at Columbia University. The company's chief marketer said that is not the intent. "We sincerely regret any impression that we may be attempting to influence the editorial policy of any magazine by placing or withdrawing advertising," said Albert Weiss, general manager of marketing services.

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