FTC Cracks Down on Advertisers

bigstock-Marketing-word-cloud-26274962The Federal Trade Commission recently announced  that it sent warning letters to over 60 national advertisers in connection with a recent national initiative that goes by the (distinctly ominous) name “Operation Full Disclosure.”  The letters alleged that the advertisers failed to make adequate disclosures in wide variety of print and television advertisements, including ads for personal care products, food, drugs, household items, and electronics.

The stated purpose of Operation Full Disclosure is to remind advertisers that required disclosures which communicate material information regarding the advertised product must be clear and conspicuous.  Any disclaimers must use clear and unambiguous language and should stand out in the advertising. ”

The FTC provides advertisers with some guidance on how to structure disclosures compliantly by following the  “4Ps” it uses to evaluate advertising disclosures:

1) Prominence: Is it large enough to read easily?

2) Presentation: Is it in plain English?

3) Placement: Is it located in an area likely to be seen?

4) Proximity: Is it close to the claim it qualifies?).

The FTC also cautioned that advertisers who did not receive a letter should not assume there are no issues with their advertising disclosures, and encouraged them to use the warnings as an opportunity to reexamine the adequacy of their advertising disclosures.


Author: Seth Heyman
Seth D. Heyman is a California attorney with extensive experience in advertising and marketing law, corporate law, contracts, governmental regulations, international business, and Internet law. He has counseled numerous successful companies, both public and private, and was responsible for regulatory compliance, contract management, corporate governance, and HR best practices for multiple organizations in many diverse industries, including marketing, telecommunications, energy, and technology development. He offers insight and guidance on federal and state direct mail, TV, radio, telemarketing, and Internet marketing laws, as well as online promotions, Internet privacy, data protection regulations, and similar matters.
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