Reminder: Ad Campaign featuring Current Olympians Must be Filed with the USOC by January 27, 2016

If you are planning to use a Rio 2016 Olympic Games athlete in a U.S.-based advertising campaign that will run between 24 July and 24 August 2016, then you must submit your campaign to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for a Rule 40 waiver no later than 27 January 2016.

Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter prohibits current Olympic athlete advertising during the Games. The rule provides in part that “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.” Continue Reading

Bulletin: Information Request from SAG-AFTRA

We understand that some signatories to the Commercials Contracts received an information request from the Union.   The JPC has discussed the request with the Union.  It is our understanding that these requests are being sent to entities that are neither advertisers nor advertising agencies, and that the Union is looking to clarify what role such signatories play with respect to the employment of Union members.  Under the letters of adherence executed by direct signatories, the Union has the right to reject or revoke the signatory status of any company if it determines that such company is not a bona fide producer of commercials.  Direct signatories should contact their legal counsel with any questions.

Brain Freeze: Lumosity Settles Charges With FTC Over Ads About Cognitive Health

Lumosity’s online “brain training” program was playing Jedi mind tricks (yes, a Star Wars pun) on consumers according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Lumos Labs, Inc. (Lumosity) and its officers. The FTC’s charge reinforces that advertisers touting the health benefits of products or services must be able to prove that the advertised benefits exist.

By proof, of course, we’re really talking about claim substantiation. In this case, Lumosity advertised that its program could improve an array of cognitive issues, ranging from performance in school, at work, or in sports, to delaying age-related memory decline or cognitive impairment. To experience improvement in these areas, Lumosity’s ads suggested that subscribers need only devote 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week to playing Lumosity’s approximately 40 brain games. According to the FTC, however, Lumosity lacked “competent and reliable scientific evidence” for it to “widely promote” the cognitive benefits of its games. Until such scientific evidence exists, Lumosity is prohibited from making claims that are arguably the selling points of its services.

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What’s Next for International Privacy? The European Union’s Safe Harbor Ruling: A Practical Discussion of the Impact and Solutions

Fallout remains from the Court of Justice of the European Union ruling declaring the long standing EU-US Safe Harbor framework invalid. The decision will have widespread implications on how global corporations manage the international transfer of data.

This webinar will offer practical solutions to companies to mitigate risks while transferring data across global borders. What are the ramifications of the decision across EU member states? What alternative transfer mechanisms exist for companies working internationally and what risks are there of increased enforcement? Most importantly, what practical steps companies can take to mitigate risk and what can they expect in the future?

Register here.

The FTC Won’t Let Them Be: Enforcement Action Brought Against App Developers for Violation of Children’s Privacy Law Presents New Challenges for Advertisers

In a recent show of force—which some believe is the tip of the iceberg—the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an enforcement action against two mobile application (app) developers for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and, by extension, the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA). Seeking to avoid a drawn out dispute with the FTC, both app developers settled their respective charges, reportedly for a combined $360,000. What makes these cases particularly relevant for our readers are the FTC’s allegations about the relationship of the app developers to the advertising networks and its implications for advertisers and the advertising industry. For an analysis of these allegations, and how the FTC may focus its efforts in this space going forward, read below. Continue Reading

BULLETIN: AFTRA RETIREMENT FUND SENDING INFORMATION REQUEST TO JPC MEMBERS ON SIGNIFICANT DROP IN PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS

To address what it perceives as significant underfunding in its pension plan, the AFTRA Retirement Fund is actively sending information requests to Joint Policy Committee signatories whose contributions have declined over a three year period.  The attached bulletin discusses the Fund’s rationale and efforts, and suggests potential defenses JPC signatories can use in refuting the Fund’s position.

Today’s Hot Topic: Guarantees or Warranties

From time to time I like to remind clients of specific network guidelines to keep in mind when developing advertising. One such guideline involves guarantees or warranties.

Per the network guidelines, references to guarantees, warranties, or similar terms in advertising copy must comply with all applicable laws and governmental rules and regulations, including the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the rules promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Advertisers should generally disclose whether an advertised warranty is “full” or “limited,” its duration, and any major limitations of the warranty, such as, parts excluded, costs or responsibilities the customer must undertake. Advertisers should also disclose that rest of the warranty can be seen at the store, e.g., “See dealer for details,” or the like.

The following guidelines apply to advertising referencing a guarantee, warranty, or other promise or representation in the nature of a guarantee or warranty: Continue Reading

BULLETIN: SAG-AFTRA ISSUES MEMBER ALERT TO ORGANIZE DROGA5

SAG-AFTRA’s pledge to increase efforts in enforcing the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract and the Radio Recorded Commercials Contract was on full display with its latest Member Alert to organize Droga5, a non-signatory ad agency. Indeed, the October 12, 2015 alert to union membership was a true call to action: “Now is the time for action. . .SAG-AFTRA will not stand by while agencies undermine wages and benefits while profiting off of professional talent.” With a new round of union negotiations quickly approaching, it is no surprise that SAG-AFTRA has ramped up its scrutiny of non-signatories who attempt to produce non-union commercials or to employ union performers through a third-party “shell company” to produce their union spots. This, the union claims, is just one of many steps in its campaign to combat similar misconduct. Continue Reading

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