The new FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising are now in effect. There’s been a lot of hype going on about it, but really it’s just truth in advertising.
Endorsements must be honest, with true experiences related by the endorser. They must also be representative “of what consumers can reasonably expect to achieve.” I love it that advertisers can no longer use the disclaimer “results not typical” – like when the 350 pound woman loses 200 pounds in 3 months. Really?
The guideline that is causing all the online hoopla is the one that requires material connections, including free products or monetary compensation, must be disclosed. This is going to affect blog reviews of products and web sites, make-money-fast-online testimonials, and acai berry weight loss claims (see 350 lb woman above).
To help you make sure you’re in compliance, here is the exact wording:
- Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions and true experience of the endorser. If paid actors are used, this fact must be disclosed.
- Endorsements may not contain any representations which would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated, if made directly by the advertiser.
- Endorsements must be representative of what consumers can reasonably expect to achieve. Any claim made by the endorser must reflect the opinion or experience of a significant proportion of consumers. Disclaimers like “results not typical” are no longer sufficient.
- All material connections between the advertiser and the endorser (including research or medical organizations) that consumers would not expect must be disclosed, including free products or monetary compensation.
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