Posts Tagged: Deceptive Advertising

“You Are [NOT] a Winner” Consent Order Entered Against Printer/Mailer of Deceptive Prize Notifications

On February 9, 2017, a consent order was entered in favor of the FTC against the general manager of a company engaged to procure printing and mailing of deceptive prize notifications.  The individual got laminated for $800,000 (subject to reduction).

The lesson: anyone involved with deceptive prize/sweepstakes/contests mailings could get in serious trouble.

According to the Complaint, the sponsor, using the aforementioned company, mailed hundreds of thousands of personalized cash prize notifications announcing that the recipients had won a cash prize of $943,543.54.  (NB: maybe a million dollars outright seemed too suspicious?)

Of course, the offer was made to sound juicy: “YOU HAVE WON A CASH PRIZE! … Your name was identified among a tiny percentage of ALL eligible individuals.  The fact that you have won a cash prize must be thrilling and somewhat overwhelming.”

Of course, they targeted the elderly.  Of course, they asked for a “fee” of $25 to collect the prize.  Of course, people complied.  And of course, they didn’t get the cash prize.

Why go after the printer/mailer?  The sponsor gave him the electronic templates of the prize notifications, the outer envelopes and the return envelopes, and instructed him on the quantities to print, who to mail them too, and when to mail them.  (He may have done some editing too.)  He then arranged for the notices to be printed and mailed out.  According to the FTC this was enough to be in on the scheme. (more…)

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Where’d You Get That Dress? FTC Dresses Down Lord & Taylor Native Advertising

This week the FTC settled charges against Lord & Taylor from alleged deceptive native advertising during its March 2015 Design Lab social media campaign. http://1.usa.gov/22h3sJ7 A big takeaway from this settlement is the FTC’s position that a company not only has to comply with the Native Advertising/Endorsement disclosures on its own social media platforms, but also has to ensure (by contract and monitoring) that its paid endorsers make the requisite disclosures on their own social media posts.

For its sales campaign, L&T focused on one product, the Paisley Asymmetrical Dress, to flood the Internets. The native advertising included:

  • L&T gave the Dress to 50 select fashion influencers (what a job!) who were paid $1,000-$4,000 to post pictures of themselves on Instagram wearing the Dress. By contract, L&T required them to use “@lordandtaylor” and “#DesignLab” in the posts. The contract did not require the influencers to disclose in their postings that they had been compensated by L&T. L&T pre-approved each of the posts to ensure use of the user designation and hashtag. None of the posts had any endorsement disclosure and L&T did not add any.
  • L&T contracted with the fashion magazine Nylon to run an article with a picture of the Dress, which L&T pre-approved. L&T did not require Nylon to disclose the relationship in the article.
  • L&T also contracted with Nylon to post a picture of the Dress on Nylon’s Instagram page; again, no disclosure requirement.

The campaign was a huge success; it reached 11.4 million Instagram users and produced over 300,000 brand engagements; and the Dress sold out in days. But while women everywhere said yes to the Dress, the FTC said bad to the ads. (more…)

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I Said Your Product was Great, Now Gimme a Prize: The FTC Enforces Its Endorsement Guidelines

Yesterday, the FTC settled a deceptive advertising lawsuit against the creators and marketers of the Lumosity “brain training” program. For those of you not smart enough to know, the “brain training” program claimed to not only boost your performance at work or school, but also slow down those pesky cognitive impairments we all seem to experience as we get older.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. As part of its marketing campaign, Lumosity ran an “Athlete Testimonial Contest” inviting entrants to share their story of how “Lumosity has helped them take their athletic abilities to the next level for the chance to win a Lifetime Subscription, the new iPad, and more!” (NB: Apple frowns upon giving away iPads.)

With this call to action, burgeoning athletes took time away from their snatch and jerks to post their stories online to gain entry into the (sic) “contest”. (more…)

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