“Customers typically experience relief of pain in 2 hours” is no longer a legally allowed endorsement (testimonials) by advertisers. The FTC introduced new rulings in December 2009 affecting bloggers, celebrity endorsements and the use of testimonials to promote products (or businesses).
I’m outlining a few points below just to alert readers – who are authentic, non-misleading, decent business owners – how to comply and stay current with legal advertising (promotion) laws.
MAJOR POINTS FROM NEW FTC GUIDELINES
1. WATCH OUT BLOGGERS!
They’re really watching bloggers now! If you’re being paid to endorse a product you must disclose that now. In the past, these endorsements often sounded like they were genuine, caring people raving about some product they recommended. Ah, but did you know if they were being paid to say those great things? Now you do. Or you should, once these advertisers comply.
I notice daily on news radio that celeb reporters endorse products but don’t tell us they are paid for it, so I’m wondering when and where the FTC crackdown on this will take place, aren’t you?
The FTC elaborates on this ruling explaining that “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller…” which is a ruling equally proposed for research organizations who must disclose how they were funded for their particular research results.
I’m holding my tongue about medical research facilities ‘finding’ that certain pharma drugs have no serious side effects, when in fact the medical research is actually funded by the very pharmaceutical company who manufactures that drug.
So, before you get angry at the FTC for these guidelines, try to consider that their purpose is to try to protect you from this sort of misleading information.
2. CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS
Some of you reading this are celebs in your own field, so please don’t dismiss this as irrelevant info just because you’re not Brad Pitt: new rulings state that ‘both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections (meaning: celebs get paid to say what they say)…” and now they are required to tell us that.
3. “TYPICAL” EXPERIENCE
Advertisers or companies “using an endorsement denoting that this is a ‘typical experience’ with a product or service when that is not the case will be requird to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In the past, advertisers could describe unusual results in testimonials as long as they included a disclaimer like “results not typical”.
Have more questions? Need more detail? Here’s the FTC website: http://www.ftc.gov/index.shtml.
Need more results from your marketing efforts? We have a full service marketing agency standing by to help you increase revenues with social media, websites, planning, marketing strategy, SEO and more!