Look at those lists of the most admired companies in America and what do you notice about them? Great products, for sure. But many also enjoy stellar reputations for service after the sale. When a buyer is confident you’ll stand by your product, you’ve probably created a customer for life. One measure of that is how you honor your obligations under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Blog Posts Tagged with Advertising and Marketing Basics
It’s graduation season. How’s this for a truthful take on the usual oratory?
Esteemed guests and distinguished graduates, despite what we said in our ads, many of you just got a degree or diploma that won’t qualify you to get the licenses you need to land a job in your field. And don’t count on your credits transferring to four-year colleges. But thanks for the thousands of dollars you paid out of your own pocket!
Caribbean cruises, jet ski outings, trips to Disneyworld, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and even dating service subscriptions. You’d expect to see that on reruns of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” What you wouldn’t expect is that they were paid for by donations people made to cancer charities.
A royal flush? More like a royal pain for consumers who trusted claims that moist flushable wipes manufactured by trade supplier Nice-Pak were safe for home plumbing systems. According to an FTC complaint, the wipes were made of a non-woven fabric that didn’t break down as quickly and easily as advertised, rendering that “flushable” claim a pipe dream – or maybe a pipe nightmare if your sewer or septic system got clogged as a result.
In her blog, a registered nurse offered candid opinions about a broad range of topics, including parenthood, men with comb-overs, and the challenges of menopausal weight gain. There wasn’t much she could do about the comb-over issue, but she claimed to have found a solution to those extra pounds: a dietary supplement called Amberen.
When playing hide and seek as a child, remember those kids who always seemed to find that hidden crawl space or cranny? Whatever happened to them? Let’s hope they didn’t grow up to go into advertising since current marketing methods offer lots of ways for companies to hide important terms and conditions. The FTC's proposed settlement with Network Solutions illustrates a few examples.
What do mystery writers, magicians, and some small business scammers have in common? The art of misdirection. But when it comes to small business scammers, we’re on to their tricks. Today the FTC announced that, at its request, a federal court stopped yellow page scammers that were targeting businesses all over the U.S. with a series of ploys. According to the FTC, this is how it worked.
When it comes to car advertising, truth should be standard equipment. That’s the message of Operation Ruse Control, a coast-to-coast and cross-border sweep by the FTC and state, federal, and international law enforcers aimed at driving out deception in automobile ads, adds-ons, financing, and auto loan modification services. The FTC cases offer 6 tips to help keep your promotions in the proper lane.
If your company offers warranties, a proposed FTC settlement with BMW of North America’s MINI Division suggests that a compliance check-up could be warranted.
Have you seen the ads where a popular celebrity touts DIRECTV on his own behalf and as the Painfully Awkward, Overly Paranoid, or Crazy Hairy version of himself? Applying that to a lawsuit just filed by the FTC, there’s DIRECTV – and then there’s Deceptively Advertised DIRECTV.
If you watch as much TV as we do, you may have been tempted to reach for the phone to order the Snuggie, that blanket with sleeves for couch potatoes; Forever Comfy, the answer to rump-sprung chairs; or a host of other items sold by New York-based Allstar Marketing Group. And if one Magic Mesh, Cat's Meow, Roto Punch, or Perfect Tortilla wasn’t enough, the ads reeled buyers in with a “double the offer” buy-one-get-one-free promotion the FTC and New York Attorney General said was misleading.
It was a new era for shoppers in the 1960s. Suburbs, malls and grocery stores boomed. Esso “put a tiger in your tank.” And unscrupulous marketers came up with some new tricks. It turns out that a “jumbo pound” weighed, you guessed it – one pound. Into the fray entered the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), signed into law in 1966.
She’s got a competition clutch with four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten ‘til the lake pipes roar.
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid,
There's one more thing. I got the pink slip, Daddy.
Certain advertising terms are bound to attract consumer attention: “free,” “no diet or exercise required” – and for people in the market for mobile data plans, “unlimited.” The FTC’s settlement with TracFone Wireless will return $40 million to consumers whose unlimited service was throttled or cut off. What can your company take from the case?
“No need to be fat. No need to diet or go through unpleasant exercise.”
“Your thin friends can tell you the right way to fight fat.”
“Men avoided me. I was too fat.”
Sounds like a lot of the bogus diet promotions the FTC has gone to court to shut down. But there are two things different about this false advertising case.
First, it went to the Supreme Court. And second, the year was 1931.
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.
We’ve brought law enforcement actions – dozens of ‘em. We’ve held workshops, issued reports, and sent warning letters. If it takes sky writing, tap dancing, and a float in a Thanksgiving Day parade, we’ll do that, too. But here’s what’s not going to happen. The FTC is not giving up until businesses get the message that: 1) Free means free; and 2) Key terms and conditions have to be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
In celebration of the FTC’s 100th anniversary, we’ve been examining the leaves on our family tree. The FTC’s founding is often associated with turn-of-the-century trust busting, but a closer look – including a study of the very first case published in Volume 1 of Federal Trade Commission Decisions – proves that the intertwined roots of consumer protection and competition run deep. That’s one of the themes of the FTC@100 Symposium on Friday, November 7, 2014.
Patent assertion entities have been the subject of much debate in antitrust and intellectual property circles. But there’s one proposition we hope that parties on all sides of the issue can agree on: It’s illegal to falsely threaten patent suits against small businesses or make unfounded claims that other companies have paid for patent licenses.