Some people call it the “Oz Effect” – the bump in consumer demand after a product or ingredient is featured on the The Dr. Oz Show. In a just-announced settlement, the FTC says defendants Lindsey Duncan, Pure Health LLC, and Genesis Today, Inc., took advantage of that phenomenon by deceptively touting the purported weight loss benefits of green coffee bean extract.
Blog Posts Tagged with Endorsements
Silence may be golden, but not for the parents of kids with speech disorders. Illinois-based NourishLife marketed two dietary supplements, Speak and Speak Smooth, advertised as the answer for kids with a broad range of speech disorders, including those associated with autism. But the FTC says the company’s claims were long on talk and short on scientific substantiation.
On the “Evaluate your options carefully before trying this at home” list, how about adding the do-it-yourself removal of moles, skin tags, and warts, including genital warts. That's one message to take from a just-announced FTC settlement, but the case also offers insights for companies that feature consumer endorsements in their ads or use affiliate marketing programs.
Looking for PlayStation tips and tricks? We can’t tell you how ISA Vekta Special Forces Team Alpha can navigate the Akmir Snowdrift in Killzone 3. But for businesses – including ad agencies and PR firms – interested in keeping their practices out of the Pyrrhus Crater, the FTC’s proposed settlements with Sony Computer Entertainment America and ad agency Deutsch LA offer practical guidance.
According to the ads, “It’s a problem as old as gaming itself. Stay home and just keep playing, or get to work on time so your coffee breath boss doesn’t ride you like a rented scooter.” For gamers who face that dilemma, Sony Computer Entertainment America marketed its PlayStation Vita as the solution. But according to a settlement announced by the FTC, Sony didn’t deliver on its promises.
People who aren’t into marketing jargon might not know a “credence claim” from a Creedence Clearwater Revival, but experts tell us it’s a representation about a product that consumers aren’t in a position to evaluate for themselves. One example is what websites say about their privacy practices. Because consumers can’t test the accuracy of those claims, they often rely on third-party seals trusted for their expertise and independence.
We can’t vouch for the accuracy of Shakira’s representation that “Hips Don’t Lie.” But the FTC says anti-cellulite and slimming claims for caffeine-embedded underwear sold by lingerie company Wacoal and catalog retailer Norm Thompson were deceptive. As for Norm Thompson's statement that Dr. Oz endorsed its products, the complaint challenges that as false.
With a product name like “Your Baby Can Read!” – exclamation point in the original – it didn’t take long for consumers to figure out what the marketers were promising. The company’s massive ad campaign featured 14-month-olds mastering vocabulary flashcards, two-year-olds reading books, and an array of charts, graphs, and studies purporting to show that Your Baby Can Read! was scientifically proven to work.
There sure are a lot of seals out there. The British singer. The Navy special ops unit. The aquatic mammal. But the seals that matter to the FTC are certifications that convey representations consumers might not be able to evaluate for themselves. If your company makes Made in the USA claims, you’ll want to “Get Closer.” (And yes, that was a hit by 70s folk rockers, Seals and Crofts.)
There are certain questions we ask ourselves when investigating companies’ health claims. Did they have appropriate substantiation? Did they tell the truth when they said their claims were supported by scientific studies? Did they clearly disclose that product endorsers were getting a piece of the pie?
Consumers who tuned in to programs like the Today Show, Daybreak USA, and local newscasts may have caught interviews with guests billed as “The Safety Mom,” a home security expert, or a tech expert. Among the products they reviewed was ADT’s Pulse Home Monitoring System. Describing it as “amazing” or “incredible,” they offered glowing details about its capabilities, safety benefits, and cost. But according to the FTC, here's one material fact that wasn’t discussed: ADT had paid the three spokespersons a total of more than $300,000 and provided two of them with free systems valued at $4,
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."
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
If you or your clients make environmental marketing claims, don’t sleep on three actions the FTC just announced against companies that sell mattresses. What's more, the pleadings in one case offer insights into a course of conduct advertisers should avoid in the use of seals and certifications.
A recent comment the FTC filed with the Marine Stewardship Council about the Council’s certification program for fisheries offers a line on the importance of consumer perception when issuing environmental seals and certifications.
Has it been a while since you touched base with clients about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides? Of course, you’ve shown them the three major take-away points in black and white:
Tell people your baby is adorable and no doubt you have the photos to back it up. But market a product called “Your Baby Can Read!” and you better have real proof. According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, ads for the “Your Baby Can Read!” program made false and deceptive claims that the product could teach infants and toddlers to read.
The lawsuit against data broker Spokeo is the FTC’s first Fair Credit Reporting Act case addressing the collection of online info — including data from social networking sites — when used in the context of employment screening. But that’s not the only way the Spokeo settlement touches on social media. The FTC also charged that Spokeo violated Section 5 by having employees post glowing recommendations of the company’s services on news and technology websites without di
According to the FTC, Skechers made false and deceptive claims about the benefits of Shape-ups and other Skechers brands. If you’re in the fitness or health business, the $40 million settlement should grab your attention. But the underlying principles apply to all advertisers. If you're looking to get a leg up on substantiation, here are some footnotes to take from the case.