FTC Toughens Ad Rules

Advertisers, celebrities and online bloggers in the US will now be considered liable for any false claims they make while promoting products and services, new guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission state.

In its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, the FTC laid out a number of updated rules governing both online and offline ads, amending some procedures that had not been modified for almost three decades.

Executions featuring consumer testimonials must now explicitly state the average outcome customers can expect when using a product, rather than focusing on the results that are the most impressive, but are also atypical, and then adding disclaimers.

Bloggers will be required to disclose any links they have with brand owners, who often provide web users with financial or other forms of reward to review or comment on their goods.

Similarly, these online authors will be held liable if any such statements are misleading, and they are then found to be connected in some way with manufacturers.

Celebrities will be subject to similar provisions regarding the disclosure of their relationships with companies when appearing outside of traditional forms of advertising, such as on social media platforms or when on talk shows.

These high-profile spokespeople may also be held responsible for erroneous comments they make about goods they are officially endorsing.

Printed with permission of World Advertising Research Center

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