Tag Archives: Deceptive Advertising

FTC Gone Viral: Commission Puts 700+ Companies on Notice About Deceptive Endorsements

Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it sent “Notices of Penalty Offense” (the “Notice”) to over 700 companies in nearly every industrial sector, ranging from leading retailers, tech platforms, top consumer product companies, and major advertising agencies, warning them that they could incur significant civil penalties – up to $43,792 per violation – … Continue Reading

FTC Ignores the First Amendment with $9 Million Fine Against Weight Loss Supplement Company

On January 26, the manufacturer of a green coffee bean extract (GCBE) agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission $9 million to settle charges brought by the FTC that the manufacturer deceptively advertised weight loss benefits of GCBE. Lindsey Duncan, through his companies Genesis Today, Inc. and Pure Health, LLC (the “defendants”), promoted GCBE on … Continue Reading

FTC to Media: Time to Lose Some Pounds

Just in time for the New Year, as thousands of people are making weight loss resolutions and searching for ways to stick to them, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidance for publishers and broadcasters on how to evaluate weight-loss claims when screening ads for publication. The imposition of liability on the media for deceptive claims that are published is not new, and major television networks already pre-clear advertisements to ensure that they not misleading violations of section 5 of the FTC Act. Thus, the guidance does not create new liability for publishers, but rather provides a reminder for publishers to be vigilant when it comes to weight-loss claims.… Continue Reading

BLURRED LINES: The Evolution of Native Advertising

Driven by the evolution of technology and social media, brand advertisers are increasingly turning to "native advertising" -- a form of paid media in which promoted content is woven into the actual visual design, or fabric, of a website, magazine, or newspaper. The theory is that by providing ads in the context of a user's experience, and designing content that blends in with the media in which it is placed, the promoted content is less intrusive, and more likely to capture the attention of consumers. Of course, because native advertising necessarily blurs traditional lines of editorial and advertising content, regulators have begun to more closely scrutinize the practice, and have expressed concerns about the potential for consumer deception. Earlier this year, for example, the National Advertising Division ("NAD") examined a campaign from Qualcomm, in which it ran banner ads for its Snapdragon processor adjacent to a series of articles that it had sponsored on the Mashable website. For the duration of the campaign, the banner ads included a tag indicating that Qualcomm had sponsored the articles. Once the campaign concluded, however, the tags were removed (even though the articles remained live on Mashable).… Continue Reading

Sorry, Your Baby Can’t Read

Just before Labor Day, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed false advertising charges against the marketers of "Your Baby Can Read!" The program, widely promoted via infomercials and the Internet, purports to use videos, flash cards and pop-up books to teach babies as young as 3 months old how to read. The complaint charges Your Baby, LLC, its former CEO, and the program's creator, Dr. Robert Titzer, with false and deceptive advertising and deceptive expert endorsements. According to the complaint, the defendants failed to provide competent and reliable scientific evidence that babies can learn to read using the program, or that children at age 3 or 4 can learn to read books such as Charlotte's Web or Harry Potter.… Continue Reading

The Study That Never Was – A Lesson in Comparative Advertising

On Jan. 19, 2010, Weight Watchers International Inc. of New York sued its rival, Jenny Craig, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleged that the latter’s ads were misleading and deceptive, claiming they reference a comparison study carried out by Jenny Craig between the two companies’ … Continue Reading

‘Astroturfing’ – A problem for marketers, not sports stars

On July 14, 2009, Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general of New York, settled with Lifestyle Lift, a plastic surgery franchise, for false and deceptive trade practices. The case concerned the growing practice of “astroturfing,” which refers to flooding the Internet with false positive reviews about one’s goods or services. The case is believed to be the first … Continue Reading

Build-A-Bear Workshop Asked To Change Commercial

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has recommended that the popular Build-A-Bear Workshop modify or discontinue price advertising claims, which the self-regulatory group says may confuse children. CARU objected to a commercial, which the organization said it spotted through its own monitoring of advertising directed to children, that showed a child at a Build-A-Bear store … Continue Reading

CARU Refers Advertisers to FTC

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has referred two cases to the Federal Trade Commission because the advertisers failed to substantively respond to its inquiries. CARU examined advertising for the “Spray Racer,” a toy vehicle powered by water and air that is compressed when a child manually pumps a holding tank. CARU questioned whether a … Continue Reading
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