The annual conference of the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD), coming up next week, September 24 and 25, in New York, is one of the key events on the advertising-law professional calendar. A highlight of the event is always the review of the key NAD cases and emerging themes over the past year, as determined both by NAD attorneys and by participants and their counsel.… More
Category Archives: False Advertising
Watch: How In-House Counsel Can Navigate Advertising Issues and Other FTC Priorities in the Current Administration
Are you wondering how to keep your company in the good graces of the FTC and other regulators when it comes to your company’s advertisements? You are not alone. Watch this webinar to learn about the advertising-related priorities of the Trump administration, how they affect your business, and what you can do to mitigate your company’s risk.
Topics include how to substantiate and defend marketing claims your company wants to make about its products and services,… More
We posted earlier this year about increased scrutiny of cryptocurrency advertising, especially the promotion of Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. The key takeaway from that post was that the frenzy around cryptocurrencies – including as an investment opportunity for individuals who aren’t otherwise active investors – has led to a number of efforts to curtail cryptocurrency promotion, from both regulators and industry stakeholders.
Since that post,… More
If you’ve ever lamented that Kim Kardashian West just doesn’t receive enough recognition for her efforts at promoting her own and other brands, we have exciting news for you. Women’s Wear Daily reports that the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced last week that Kim will be the recipient of its first ever “Influencer Award” at the CFDA Fashion Awards on June 4.… More
This week, May 3 and 4, the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) holds its Annual Conference in Washington, DC. FDLI (I have heard insiders pronounce it “fiddly,” but I refuse to do so) covers all aspects of law and policy affecting food and drugs, including Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforcement, intellectual property, state and local regulation, and the latest technological developments. This year’s conference,… More
When you tell consumers that your product is made in the United States, you are not just giving them the manufacturing location. You are invoking their national pride, their concern about their country’s place in the world, and their anxieties about their own jobs. It’s a powerful marketing toolbox. Perhaps for that reason, some advertisers loudly tout their products as “Made in USA” even when it’s not true.
To combat such tactics,… More
Earth Day is coming up on April 22, and you may be looking to capture some environmentally-minded consumers with nifty green-themed advertising campaigns. But before you do, remember that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) monitors environmentally-themed marketing for potentially deceptive claims, and evaluates their compliance with Section 5 of the FTC Act by reference to the “Green Guides.”
The Green Guides,… More
Courts adjudicating claims that food producers deceptively label their products “non-GMO” are starting to park the claims in the same lot to which many “natural” claims have been assigned. Both await government policy action that may be a long time coming, and that may or may not end up resolving the cases.
In a case filed in 2015, In re KIND LLC “Healthy and All Natural” Litigation, a consumer class accused KIND LLC,… More
Welcome to Retro-Grade, another new series from Foley Hoag’s Advertising and Marketing Law blog. Here we take a trip down memory lane, looking at classic American ads from days gone by and examining issues that might arise if those ads were run today. As the name of the series implies, we give each ad a grade. We are not at liberty to disclose the details of our proprietary grading scheme,… More
Crypto is a Greek prefix meaning “secret” or “hidden.” Unless you live under a rock, or in one of several countries like Bolivia where buying and selling it is illegal, there is nothing secret or hidden about cryptocurrency. It’s everywhere. And public interest in cryptocurrency has led to lots of advertising, mostly on social media and the internet.
Spurred on by an incredible—some might say too-good-to-be-true—increase in value in late 2017,… More
Remember when your TV screen used to curve into the wood casing of the console? Neither does the Federal Trade Commission. That’s why the FTC recently announced the proposed repeal of the “Picture Tube Rule,” otherwise known as “Deceptive Advertising As to Sizes of Viewable Pictures Shown by Television Receiving Sets,” which you can find (at least for a few more months) at 16 C.F.R. 14.01.… More
We were delighted last month when Foley Hoag LLP named us as the new co-chairs of the firm’s Advertising and Marketing Law group. This month, as our first official act, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Advertising and Marketing Law Blog.
Advertising and marketing regulation and litigation can be a complicated game. Really complicated. … More
The Intersection of Trademarks, Advertising and Corporate Social Responsibility
Protecting the value of your corporate brand is a critical mission. As companies are increasingly asked to make disclosures regarding their efforts to address social and environmental risks, these disclosures create both opportunities and challenges for those entrusted with protecting a company’s intangible assets.
In this webinar, we explore the interrelationship between trademarks, false advertising and emerging compliance requirements in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR).… More
According to the Hyper-Chicken, a lawyer from my favorite television show, “freedom of speech applies to what comes out of a mouth, not what goes in.” State of Alabama v. Giant Space Iguana, 273 U.S. Ω (2976) (chewing corners off Constitution deemed non-protected speech).
The Hyper-Chicken is a fictional cartoon alien from the future,… More
We just got back from the Association of National Advertising (ANA) and Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago, held earlier this week. With hundreds in attendance, and dozens of speakers presenting over three days, it was a great opportunity to learn about “hot” trends and key issues in the advertising and marketing space from an array of stakeholders – marketers, attorneys, regulators,… More
I am certainly not the only person who has been lured into purchasing a too-good-to-be-true, deeply discounted product online, only to learn that what I actually purchased was a subscription to buy more stuff. Kate Hudson’s athletic wear company Fabletics hooked me about a year ago when I saw a cute workout outfit advertised on social media for only $25.00. I purchased the outfit on Fabletics’ website,… More
This month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a revised version of “Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking,” a series of questions and answers pertaining to the conduct of “influencers,” that is, anyone who endorses a product or service. The basic premise of the Endorsement Guides is that, if there exists a material connection between the influencer who is endorsing the product and the company that is marketing the product (e.g.,… More
Advertising can take many forms, including statements about a company’s products on websites and social media platforms. A wrong step can result in serious consequences, including legal challenges from competitors, consumers, the Federal Trade Commission, and other regulatory agencies.
Watch this webinar to learn how you can protect your company against legal challenges based on its advertising practices. You will also learn what options are available if your competitors are making false or misleading statements in their advertisements.… More
Earth Day is coming up on April 22, which means that a lot of consumers are going to be reminded to think green, and to buy green. What if your company is looking to access this vast market of environmentally-minded shoppers, but your product or service isn’t really that environmentally conscious? Can you just go ahead and label yourself “Green” anyway? Who’s gonna notice?
If you’re interested in garbage, the crass objectification of male celebrities, or both – or if you consider the two roughly equivalent – have I got a false advertising case for you! Despite their “Don’t Get Mad; Get Glad” tagline, the makers of Glad trash bags got pretty mad at a recent advertising campaign launched by their competitor, Hefty. So mad, in fact, that they filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau.… More
This post first appeared in Law360 as “10 Considerations When Advertising On Social Media,” published on September 21, 2016.
Most modern advertising campaigns include social media components. In fact, it is not uncommon today to see products advertised exclusively on social media. For the most part, the same rules that govern traditional advertising also govern commercial speech on social media.… More
I May Not Be Able To Pronounce Acai But I Know It Doesn’t Burn Fat Cells: 5 Recent Over-the-Top Weight Loss Advertising Claims And How The Federal Trade Commission Responded
Some say “ah-sigh;” I say “ah-kai;” but apparently the proper pronunciation of “acai” — the so-called super berry — is actually “ah-sigh-ee.” Who knew? Acai berries are native to the Amazon rainforest and have been hailed by marketers as offering a slew of health benefits, including massive weight loss. Unfortunately, according to various consumer advocacy groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest,… More
Continuing its trend of scrutinizing claims touting improved cognitive function, the Federal Trade Commission recently announced a settlement with LearningRx Franchise Corp. (“LFC”), the developer and franchisor of a chain of “LearningRx centers” providing one-on-one cognitive training to consumers. The FTC’s settlement with LFC comes in the wake of several other high-profile FTC actions involving cognition claims, including a $2 million settlement with Lumos Labs,… More
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized guidance for industry describing the agency’s evaluation process for proposed proprietary names for drug and biological products. The guidance applies to all prescription and nonprescription drug products, innovator and generic drug products, and biological products. Drug products that may be legally marketed without an approved application are excluded (e.g., OTC drugs legally marketed under a tentative or final monograph). … More
Following a very active year in 2015, the FTC appears poised to continue and expand its focus in several key areas. This webinar looks back at key enforcement initiatives of the past 12 months and examines expected areas of enforcement in the year ahead, including:
- Native advertising
- Health claims
- Cognition claims
- Promotion of technology products
- Endorsements and seals
- “Green” claims
- “Made in the USA” claims
The Better Business Bureau announced last Thursday that it has amended its Code of Advertising to address the new and evolving ways in which advertisers reach consumers through technology. The Better Business Bureau is the administrative parent of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory bodies, including the National Advertising Division.
As advertisers market to consumers who spend more time looking at smart phones and computer screens than television screens and magazines (the traditional media of mass-market advertising),… More
The National Advertising Division is holding its annual conference this week in New York, and Foley Hoag is in attendance for what many consider to be the leading conference of its kind. Day One saw an impressive line-up of panelists and speakers, beginning with an address by Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who outlined areas of particular focus over the coming year: weight loss claims, cognitive benefit claims,… More
Milk Dud? False Advertising Lawsuit Against Makers of Muscle Milk Illustrates Interplay Between Lanham Act, FTC and FDA
In a lawsuit recently filed in the Southern District of Florida, Global Beverage Enterprises, Inc. (“Global”), the manufacturer of specialty carbonated beverages like Mr. Q. Cumber Sparkling Cucumber Beverage, brought Lanham Act claims against CytoSport, Inc., alleging false advertising of CytoSport’s popular Muscle Milk line of beverages. The basis of the claim is that the Muscle Milk beverages contain no milk and, therefore, the product name is false and misleading. … More
On April 30, 2014, the plaintiffs in Bezdek v. Vibram, a class action in the District of Massachusetts, filed for court approval of a class wide settlement. The case had been brought against Vibram, the Italian manufacturer of “five finger” minimalist footwear, by consumers who alleged that the company committed false advertising when promoting health benefits of its product for which there was allegedly no scientific support.… More
This Porridge is Just Right: Supreme Court Adopts “Zones of Interest” Standing in False Advertising Cases
When we last posted about Lexmark v. Static Control, we expected that the Supreme Court would endorse one of the circuit court tests to determine whether Static Control, the maker of a chip that facilitates printer cartridge remanufacturing, had standing to bring a false advertising claim against Lexmark, a company that makes printers and printer cartridges but is not strictly a competitor of Static Control.… More
A recent opinion from the Western District of Virginia sets forth a useful framework for analyzing a variety of Lanham Act claims based on false commercial speech uttered in social media.