Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing
This one took some chutzpah — with a capital -CHHH. But there's a message, too, for companies that want to keep their promotions on the up-and-up.
Does the IRS have a Form 1039? Do drivers ever get their kicks on Route 67? And does 3.14158 ever feel unappreciated because pi gets all the attention?
Most attorneys and business executives are familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act, which outlaws unfair or deceptive trade practices. But Section 6 also plays a critical role in protecting consumers. Specifically, Section 6(b) authorizes the FTC to get information from companies — “special reports” — about certain aspects of their business.
Earth Day is approaching and it’s great when businesses decide to go green. But if the “green” they have in mind is the hard-earned cash of consumers interested in making wiser environmental choices, companies should remember that well-settled truth-in-advertising principles apply. The FTC’s law enforcement action against the people behind the “Green Millionaire” promotion emphasizes that point.
If you haven’t already, hover up to your toolbar and bookmark the FTC’s Regulatory Review page. It’s your one-stop resource for what's coming up and what’s going down with Commission rules and guides of interest to your business and your clients. Recent announcements about the FTC's regulatory review schedule make it a must-read.
Mobile devices are changing how people go about their daily lives, and that includes how they pay for stuff. As announced in January, the FTC is hosting a workshop on April 26, 2012, to examine the use of mobile payments in the marketplace and their effects on consumers. The workshop — which will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. — is free and open to the public. The agenda is now available.
Imagine for a moment your ideal customer. They consider their choices carefully before buying. They keep their accounts current. When service is top-notch, they spread the word to friends and family. If there’s a glitch, they give you a chance to correct the problem before posting thumbs-down reviews. Now imagine you could “create” your own cadre of contented customers. Fantasy Land? It’s more real than you might imagine.
Last week saw FTC announcements involving allegations of foreclosure rescue fraud, deception aimed at people trying to resell their timeshares, complaints against payday lenders, and lawsuits against outfits claiming to help consumers behind on their car payments. Is there a theme here? You bet. But the message isn't just for companies engaged in practices targeting consumers struggling to stay afloat. There are words to the wise for businesses of any size and every stripe.
There are lots of good reasons for businesses to comply with the National Do Not Call Registry: It ensures your marketing message will be heard by a more receptive audience and it protects your company from the ire of consumers who don’t want to be disturbed. But in a case involving calls pitching "free" government grants, a federal judge in Rochester, New York, just added 30 million more reasons not to call people on the list.
The FTC has filed another action against defendants who allegedly attempted to squeeze the last drop from homeowners already under water. This case, however, involves a disturbing new variation on foreclosure "rescue" operations.
Are there hotter topics these days than data security and kids’ privacy? An FTC law enforcement settlement with the social networking site RockYou ticks both of those topical boxes and challenges a course of conduct the FTC says made it easier for hackers to access the personal information of 32 million users. The complaint also alleges the company collected info from kids in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Through a series of recent law enforcement actions, the FTC has articulated what should be apparent: that truth-in-advertising principles apply to affiliate marketers and to the companies that use them to promote their products. A settlement announced today by the FTC makes a similarly obvious point: The law applies to affiliate marketing networks, too.
If you or your clients work in the multi-level marketing (MLM) arena, a decision by a federal judge in the FTC's lawsuit against BurnLounge, Inc., merits your attention. The defendants — the company, the CEO, and top salesmen — used claims of hefty profits to sell opportunities to run online digital music stores. According to the FTC, the outfit masqueraded as a legitimate MLM program, but really was an illegal pyramid scheme.
If you have clients in the auto industry, you’ve seen the ads: “We’ll pay off your trade no matter what you owe . . . even if you’re upside down.” It’s an attractive claim to people struggling with their finances. But law enforcement settlements announced by the FTC with five dealers from around the country demonstrate the importance of giving people the straight story when making promises about trade-ins where negative equity is involved.
It’s helpful when advertisers can get a window into the FTC’s thinking about certain ad claims — and five recent settlements with companies that sell replacement windows offer just that.
According to the FTC, the businesses made exaggerated and unsupported representations about the energy efficiency of their windows, and about how much money people could save on their heating and cooling bills by having them installed. What did the ads say? Things like:
Dot Com Disclosures — the FTC’s staff publication about online advertising — was published 12 years ago. Of course, the same basic consumer protection principles apply online, in mobile marketing, and in other media, but a lot has happened since then. In light of technological changes, is it time for revised guidance about making disclosures required by FTC law?
For some, a discussion of childhood and technology brings back fond memories of Easy Bake Ovens and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. But like their parents, these kids today (Didn’t we swear we’d never use the phrase "these kids today"?) are embracing the opportunities presented by smartphones, tablets, and the burgeoning app market. But what about the privacy considerations when children and teens use apps?
When the FTC conducts an investigation to see if a company has violated the law, it’s important that the process is efficient and not unduly burdensome on those involved. The FTC’s Rules of Practice lay out the procedures the Commission follows.
In the market for a $430 case of shower caps or some “dolphin shaped craft embellishments”? Have they got a deal for you! But for people who thought they were paying $99 up front and $19 a month for a credit card, all they got was access to the defendants’ online store, which sold bulk quantities of off-brand, overpriced items.
Six online marketers have settled FTC charges stemming from their use of fake news websites to market acai berry supplements and other weight loss products. If you’re an affiliate marketer or you’re thinking about building an affiliate program into your business plan, the cases merit your attention.