After the FTC revised its Endorsement Guides in 2009, we followed up with What People are Asking, an informal staff publication to answer questions that were on advertisers’ minds. More than five years have passed – a lifetime in blog years – but the legal principles remain the same. What has changed are the kinds of questions we’re getting. So we’ve updated FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking to cover the trending and topical.
Let’s start with the fundamentals:
- Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading.
- If there’s a connection between an endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, disclose it clearly and conspicuously.
- If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that an endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in those circumstances.
Sound familiar? It should, since those principles form the foundation of how the FTC Act applies to endorsements – and nothing has changed.
So what will you find in the updated FAQs?
We’ve expanded some topics we touched on the first time around – for example, Is there special wording I have to use to make the disclosure?
We've taken a deeper dive into forms of promotion that were in their infancy when the Endorsement Guides were revised in 2009 – for example, What about a platform like Twitter? How can I make a disclosure when my message is limited to 140 characters?
What People are Asking also offers a staff take on how the principles of the Endorsement Guides apply to other issues that advertisers are thinking about – affiliate marketing, “like” buttons, employee endorsements, solicited endorsements, and uploaded videos, to name just a few.
Visit the Business Center’s Endorsements page for the latest cases and guidance. Share FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking with your staff, ad agency, PR firm, affiliates, and anyone else involved in marketing and social media. And email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if there are other questions you’d like us to address.