Posts Tagged: FTC

Do You Really Like Me? Native Advertising Enforcement is On the Rise

On July 11, 2016, the FTC announced that it had settled charges against Warner Bros. that it paid online influencers to post positive game play videos for its new a video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Ed. note: whooo). (Further Ed. Note: I will continue to use the term “influencer” which in the trade means someone who is able to influence purchases, not someone with the flu.)

This enforcement action comes on the heels of the National Advertising Division cracking down on Joyus’s “Dr. Brandt’s Needles No More Wrinkle Relaxing Cream” for native advertising in the “Stuff We Love” section of People Magazine’s website, which itself came on the heels of the FTC slapping Lord & Taylor for its native advertising campaign for its incredibly-popular Paisley Asymmetrical Dress. (Story: http://bit.ly/29V7P5B Dress: http://bit.ly/29Kqsel)

I will explain in more detail below the specifics in the Warner Bros. and Joyus matters, but for those of you who just like to cut to the chase, here’s what you need to know: (more…)

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Is It “Au Naturale” or “Oh, Not Natural?”: FTC Comes Down on 100% Natural Claims

You can buy almost any product that is “all natural” — skin cream, soap, shampoo, cleaners, grass seed, bug repellent, pet spray, even hair loss treatment. These products go by monikers such as “Pure Naked”, “Lush”, “ONO”, “Nature’s Miracle” and many “Dr. so-and-so’s”. Natural products are certainly not new – early civilizations used makeup made from such things as gemstones, castor oil, and beeswax. But eventually, post-war consumers were wowed with better living through chemistry. Now, “all natural” is de rigueur.

On April 12, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release identifying a proposed settlement with four different manufacturers charging that they falsely claimed that their products are “all natural” or “100% natural”, despite the fact that they contain synthetic ingredients. http://1.usa.gov/1UZa76p The products included hand and body lotion, shampoo, sunscreen, as well as an elixir and a “face stick”. (No, the NHL was not involved in the settlement.) (more…)

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FTC Addresses Nativ(ity) Advertising Just in Time For Xmas

On Tuesday, the FTC issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements — a/k/a “native advertising”, along with guidelines for businesses. Simply put, native advertising is generally advertising that takes the form and style of the platform in which it appears in order to promote a product. Think of a BuzzFeed quiz on “5 Random Questions To Determine What Type of Sandwich You’d Be if You Were Reincarnated” that just happens to be sponsored by Subway.

In general, the FTC wants to make sure that consumers know that advertisements and promotional messages are just that, and do not imply or suggest that they’re independent, impartial, or from a source other than the sponsoring advertiser. The FTC’s expressed watchword is transparency.

Best practices include: (more…)

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