Green Guide Annual Review: Environmental False Advertising in 2017/2018

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

Class Action Plaintiffs Target Snack Foods in Latest Round of “Slack-Fill” Suits

Have you ever purchased a bag of snacks only to open it up and feel cheated by the air-to-snack ratio?  Does empty space in a bag of chips leave a bitter taste in your mouth?  Does your snack-time routine involve the use of a ruler?  If you’re like most people, the answer to all three of these questions is probably “no.”

(Source: Complaint in Morrison v.… More

Marijuana Ad Rules Set In Massachusetts, But Federal Prohibition Creates Uncertainty

We posted in January about proposed regulations for advertising adult-use marijuana in Massachusetts once retail sales begin on July 1, 2018.  After a series of public meetings and more than 500 public comments, the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”) revised the draft and unanimously approved final regulations in early March.  This means that the rules of the road for advertising by “Marijuana Retailers” in Massachusetts are now set,… More

Q&A With Mark Mansour, Newest Member of Foley Hoag’s Advertising and Marketing Practice Group

The last few months have brought an abundance of riches to Foley Hoag’s Advertising and Marketing Practice Group.  After expanding the group with the addition of August Horvath in New York, we are pleased to welcome nationally recognized FDA expert Mark Mansour to Foley Hoag’s Washington, D.C. office, where he will complement the firm’s existing FDA expertise and bring decades of experience to a fast-growing practice.  Mark’s expertise is broad,… More

“Non-GMO” Advertising Claims Join “Natural” Claim in the Parking Lot

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

Retro-Grade: Vintage Taste Test Claim Offers Lessons for Today’s Advertisers

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

Bitcoin Takes A Hit As Cryptocurrency Advertising Faces Increased Scrutiny

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

FTC Announces Proposed Abandonment of Picture Tube Rule

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

The Adver-series: State Attorneys General Play Increasing Role in Advertising Regulation

Introduction

Every day, consumers are bombarded with advertising messages: print ads on the subway, promoted posts on social media, thirty-second spots on the radio, native ad thumbnails on the internet, email blasts from retailers, product labels touting savings and benefits, billboards along the highway, commercial breaks before the “big reveal” on reality TV, robocalls, and the Saturday morning infomercial, to name just a few.

And, for those fortunate or unfortunate enough to have an office right in the middle of Times Square,… More

Thoughts on KFC’s Extra Crispy British Apology Ad

Background

Last week, KFC restaurants published a full-page advertisement in British newspapers to apologize for a chicken shortage that had closed a number of its locations.  The ad’s most prominent feature was a KFC chicken bucket with its initials rearranged “FCK”.  The ad received wide acclaim on the internet for its candor and informal audience engagement.

Our Advertising & Marketing Law Blog co-editors got together to share their reactions.… More