This article analyzes the free speech right of commercial advertisers as it pertains to a fairly recent phenomenon of corporations branding themselves with social causes. This CRM phenomenon presents a challenge for commercial speech, and raises questions about the government being able to regulate speech that combines socially aware messages within commercial marketing campaigns.
The key issue examined in the article is whether commercial speech ought to remain a salient discourse distinct from political speech. The logic of commercial speech suggests that its borders should be policed to protect consumers from misleading and fraudulent information. The problem facing the commercial speech doctrine is that the realities of advertising have long ago exceeded the ‘propositional’ nature of the commercial speech definition. Government regulators are hamstrung by the anachronism. The article will argue that the definition of commercial speech must expand to include the realities of post-modern advertising which has revolutionized the trade.