Marketing and Advertising Law
Marketing and advertising laws do apply! And the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does a comprehensive job of ensuring the country's companies -- and any brand that advertises to U.S. citizens -- follow the rules.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the country's primary advertising and marketing regulator. State attorneys general can also file promotional violation claims.
Truth-in-advertising principles, primarily codified in Section 5 of the FTC Act, are the core of U.S. promotional guidelines. Advertisers are also confined to intellectual property, competition,
trade libel, and decency laws.
23 Marketing and Advertising "DON'Ts"
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- » Don't be careless with user data. Comply with privacy parameters outlined in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Consumer Review Fairness Act, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Ac, and Restore Online Shopper's Confidence Act.
- » Do not make false claims.
- » Don't make unsubstantiated claims -- especially scientific ones (i.e., "this product will cure/reduce [insert disease or condition]!).
- » Comply with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
- » Don't frame atypical product results as typical.
- » Don't use fake news or phony review sites to promote products or services.
- » Don't pay for online reviews or use contract gag clauses in an attempt to prevent negative reviews.
- » Don't use negative-option tactics that to trick people into signing up for recurring billing scams without sufficient warning.
- » Don't make advertisements look like content.
- » Don't give away or sell customer data in exchange for material compensation without first securing permission.
- » Don't charge credit cards without getting billing addresses.
- » Don't send advertorial text messages without advanced permission. (Comply with the Can-SPAM and TCPA Acts.)
- » Don't forget to disclose material relationships in advertisements and promotional materials.
- » Don't use pop-up disclosures that can be blocked by ad-blocker software.
- » Don't hide text disclosures or links to disclosures.
- » Don't forget to use #paid, #ad, #spon hashtags when promoting on social media.
- » Don't let incentivized reviewers not disclose their status. (NOTE: Amazon changed its rules; incentivized reviews are no longer allowed on the platform.)
- » Don't let affiliate marketers that are pushing your brand use underhanded tactics -- you are responsible for affiliates that promote your products and services.
- » Don't start a multi-level marketing scheme.
- » Don't abandon a crowdsourced project, and then fail to make amends with investors.
- » Don't use price anchoring tactics (i.e., advertise an inflated original sales price to give the impression of a deal).
- » Don't neglect your website's security; in some cases, the FTC can fine businesses for getting hacked.
FTC Marketing Rules: News and Views
Is it legal to pay for negative reviews?
Is it legal for brands and marketers to commission negative fake reviews? After the jump, online marketing lawyer Andrew Gordon tackles the question.
FTC Censures Goop For Deceptive Marketing
Nobody is about the Federal Trade Commission "unfair and deceptive" marketing rules — even Gwyneth Paltrow and the people over at Goop.
Did The FTC Overstep in the DirecTV Marketing Case
The Federal Trade Commission sued DirecTV over alleged "unfair and deceptive" marketing. But this time, the FTC didn't come out on top.
About The Consumer Review Fairness Act
The Consumer Review Fairness Act prohibits businesses from trying to own or manipulate clients' and customers' online reviews. Jump in for details.
Social media and "influencer" marketing are an important arrow in promotional quivers. As such, it's essential to follow the FTC's online marketing rules.
Brand Busted For “Free Trial” Scam
The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer watchdog and responsible for bringing charges against deceptive online marketers.