January 2014

(Con)tempting fate

We’re not lyricists, but had the 1972 hit “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” been addressed to defendants in FTC actions, here’s our proposed rewrite:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.

You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t engage in acts and practices in contempt of a United States District Judge’s Permanent Injunction.

50th data security settlement offers golden opportunity to check your practices

Imagine doing a routine online search and having the search engine serve up files that include medical histories, notes from psychiatric sessions and children’s medical exams, sensitive information about drug abuse or pregnancy loss, and personal data like Social Security and driver’s license numbers.  That suggests a breach that “uh-oh” doesn’t begin to cover.  The FTC’s lawsuit against GMR Transcription Services –

Less than meets the eye?

When an ad purports to show a “right before your eyes” demonstration of a product in action, the visual must be a truthful representation of what it can do.  If that’s not the case, both the advertiser and the ad agency can find themselves in law enforcement quicksand.  That may have been news to Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper in the early 60s, but it’s been a well-established legal tenet since then.  The FTC’s complaint against Nissan North Ameri

FTC says diaper claims didn't pass the smell test

What do dirty diapers and deceptive ads have in common?  (We’ll pause a moment so you can add your own punch line.)  Now that’s out of the way, the action against Portland-based Down to Earth Designs – consumers know them as gDiapers – is the FTC's latest effort to ensure the accuracy of environmental marketing claims.  But even if green isn't your game, the case also offers insights into what the FTC calls "unqualified claims."

8 advertising potholes auto dealers should avoid

In a drive to encourage truth in auto advertising, the FTC has announced Operation Steer Clear – a coast-to-coast law enforcement sweep focusing on deceptive TV, newspaper, and online claims about sales, financing, and leasing.  If you have clients in the auto industry, the lessons of Operation Steer Clear can help keep them on the right track.

FTC to advertisers: 7 New Year's resolutions

Sprinkle it on food.  Slather it on skin.  Place drops under the tongue.  Regardless of how consumers use your product, if you make weight loss claims, here’s a New Year’s resolution to consider:  Make sure you have sound science to support what you say.  That’s just one message marketers can take from FTC actions against Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct, and LeanSpa, settlements that will return big money back to consumers – including $26.5 million to peopl