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In the United States, a portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, otherwise known as the McCain-Feingold Act, requires that a political candidate for a federal office - or the group that produced it - give "a statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate and states that the candidate has approved the communication." This means an ad has to say something like, "I'm Cole Rupt, and I approved this message." This only applies to candidates for Congress and the presidency. It does not apply to candidates for state or local office, or to anything other than politicians.
The provision was added so that political candidates would be less likely to fund attack ads or ads with questionable claims. However, that doesn't stop outside parties like interest groups from running their own ads: the NRA or AARP could run an ad that says "Cole Rupt is a brain-eating alien," but it would obviously not have opposing candidate Bea Ribe's "approval." These must be followed by a statement along the lines of "Paid for by the Republicratic National Committee", or "The S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. has paid for this message and is responsible for its content".
However, a number of ads for things other than politicians are parodying this requirement, and including it on them even though it is not applicable to anything else. So some ad will say "TropeCo's tropes are tropier. We're TropeCo, and we approved this ad." Oh yeah, right, an ad by some company might not be approved by them.
- Jerry's Subs and Pizza, a Washington-area sub sandwich franchise, during the 2008 election period, had a radio ad asking people to come in and pick their favorite sandwich, one for each of the (then three) major candidates (Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama). At the end, the announcer says, "I'm Jerry and I approved these sandwiches."
- Parodied in Robot Chicken: "My name is George W. Bush and I approve this message: Tacos rule!"
- One ad for chocolate milk showed brown cows protesting. At the end a brown cow stated: "I'm a brown cow and I approve this message."
- Popular vlogger Ray William Johnson ends all of his YouTube videos with "I'm Ray William Johnson, and I approve this message."
- "I'm Sentinel Prime, and I approve of this message."
- "I'm Dan Rather and I approved this message. Kind of. Sort of. Not really."
- These messages are a legal requirement in Australia for all political advertisements. The are presented in the form "Spoken by (Actor/Spokesman/Polititan), Authorized by (individual/association legal name)", spoken in double-time. It does make Astroturfing harder.
- A commercial for World of Warcraft announced the addition of Chuck Norris as an apparently very tough character in the game. An announcer says, "There are five million people playing World of Warcraft, only because Chuck Norris allows them to live," and at the end, Chuck says, "I'm Chuck Norris, and I approve this game."
- An issue of Spider-Man in which Deadpool claimed to have Blackest Night symbols on his toenails ("My feet are a rainbow of power!") had a footnote reading "I'm Geoff Johns and I approve this message -- Geoff Johns, former Avengers writer".