FTC Requests Public Comments on Endorsement Guides

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The Federal Trade Commission is requesting public comments on the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. The Guides are designed to assist businesses and others in conforming their endorsement and testimonial advertising practices to the requirements of the FTC Act. The request for comments is part of a systematic review of all Commission regulations and guides. The FTC is requesting comments about:

  • The overall costs, benefits, and regulatory and economic impact of the Guides, including possible conflicts with state, local, or other federal laws, and what effects, if any, have changes in relevant technology, such as email and the Internet, or economic conditions had on the Guides.

  • Two studies commissioned by the FTC on the messages conveyed by consumer testimonials: “The Effect of Consumer Testimonials and Disclosures of Ad Communication for a Dietary Supplement” and “Effects of Consumer Testimonials in Weight Loss, Dietary Supplement and Business Opportunity Advertisements.” The studies examined whether advertisements with consumer testimonials conveyed to consumers that the products advertised would enable new users to achieve results similar to those portrayed by the testimonialists, and would enable a substantial portion of new users to achieve results similar to those portrayed. The studies also examined whether certain disclosures affected the communication of those messages. The Commission also seeks comments about any other available research concerning the messages conveyed by consumer testimonials.

  • Available research on consumers’ expectations regarding compensation of celebrity endorsers who endorse a product outside the context of a traditional advertisement, and whether knowledge of such compensation might affect the credibility of the endorsement.

The specific questions and information on submitting comments is available in the Federal Register Notice. The Commission vote approving publication of the Federal Register Notice was 5-0. Comments are due to the Commission on or before March 19, 2007.

Copies of the documents mentioned are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

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