Blog Posts Tagged with Endorsements, Influencers, and Reviews

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FTC settlement with ADT sounds alarm about deceptive use of paid endorsers

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,

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."

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

Out of the mouths of babes

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.

Speaking of Spokeo: Part 2 — The company’s allegedly bogus endorsements

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

What your ads say and what the science supports: If the shoe doesn't fit...

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.

Network news

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.

Faking news

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.

Using social media in your marketing? Staff closing letter is worth a read

When the FTC brings a law enforcement action, we hope companies take notice. But sometimes there’s a nugget or two that businesses can glean from a decision by the FTC staff to close an investigation. A recent letter from the staff of the Bureau of Consumer Protection to Hyundai Motor America ticks a lot of timely boxes — bloggers, the Super Bowl, and the FTC’s Endorsement Guides — and is worth a read if your company has added social media to your marketing arsenal.

Won't get fauxed again

If you haven’t seen the ads, you’ve probably been too busy listening to eight-tracks and playing Pong because billions — with a capital B — have been served up online. They look like news investigations about acai berry weight loss products conducted by independent journalists for reputable news outlets featuring the logos of national media and follow-up comments by satisfied consumers.

Let's Make a Seal

For many people, environmental considerations play an important role in what they put in their shopping carts.  But it's tough to know when green claims are credible.  Seals and certifications can be a useful tool to help shoppers decide where to place their trust and how to spend their money — but only if they're backed by solid proof.

Full Disclosure

The FTC’s first law enforcement action related to the revised Endorsement Guides offers compliance insights for marketers.  In a proposed settlement with Reverb Communications, Inc., the FTC alleged that employees of a public relations agency hired by game developers posed as consumers and posted reviews on Apple’s iTunes store without disclosing that the reviews came from people working on behalf of the developers.

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