The Association of National Advertisers recently asked me for predictions on legal challenges brands will be facing in 2018. You can find the article here. Registration is required for the ANA website.
Viewer Discretion Is Advised – UK to Apply Film Ratings to Music Videos
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the body long responsible for providing ratings on theatrical films in the UK, recently launched a voluntary pilot program designed to protect children from watching inappropriate content whereby music videos would receive film-style age ratings, quite possibly signaling first step towards regulating music videos. Under the program, certain UK record companies, including Sony, Universal and Warner will submit music videos that are intended for a “12 and above” audience to the BBFC, and subsequently it would issue a rating for the video per its Classification Guidelines: 12, 15 or 18.
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FAA Approves Limited Drone Use in Film and TV Production
On September 25, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration announced its approval of limited commercial use of drones for film and TV production. The entertainment industry sees this as a leap in the right direction for competing with international markets where commercial use of drones is growing. Consider the implications of this approval. What other commercial uses might arise? How does this change the advertising and media marketplace? Read our recent client alert to see if sky’s the limit.
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New SIFMA Guidance May Ease Accredited Investor Verification Worries, Assist Reg D Offerings Using General Solicitation
One of the goals of the federal JOBS Act, enacted in 2012, was to expand the ability of companies (both operating companies and funds) to make non-registered securities offerings using general solicitation and advertising. Offers made through general solicitation and advertising have been prohibited under the SEC’s private offering safe harbor ever since Regulation D was adopted in 1982, and many have complained that the restriction was pointless where all purchasers were accredited investors as defined in Regulation D. However, the SEC believed a change required legislation.
The JOBS Act made that change. However, the Act, and the new rule adopted in 2013, imposed a new requirement – the issuer of the securities must take reasonable steps to “verify” that all the purchasers in a general solicitation offering are accredited investors. Failure to take reasonable verification steps would violate the rule even if it turned out that all purchasers actually were accredited.
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Sobering Action: Immediate Ban For Irresponsible Drinking Ad
The ASA has taken the “unusual step” of immediately removing an ad by a company called Koosday for a club night featuring a man slumped against a car with the text “I DON’T WANT TO DIE SOBER”. The ad appeared on car bonnets and prompted a complaint that it irresponsibly linked alcohol with driving.
Get Your Docs in a Row: A Practice Tip for Promotions
We wanted to share the following best practice tip with our readers who conduct sweepstakes, contests, and other prize-based promotions: When conducting such promotions, we always recommend that our clients have the potential winners execute and return a set of verification documents before confirming them as winners. Generally, this involves having the winner sign an affidavit and release form confirming their eligibility, compliance with the official rules of the promotion, and releasing the sponsor (and their agencies and parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates) from any liability that may arise in connection with the promotion. In addition, if you need to conduct a background check on the potential winners before issuing a prize to them, you should have them complete a form authorizing you (and/or your agencies) to do so prior to obtaining any consumer reports from a consumer reporting agency. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumer reporting agencies may only issue consumer reports with a consumer’s consent, or for one of the other delineated permissible purposes. Obtaining a properly executed authorization will not only allow you to conduct your background check more seamlessly, but it will also help to reduce the risk in playing part to a potential FCRA violation, which can result in high statutory penalties.
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Canada Requires Closed Captioning for All TV Commercials
Effective September 1, 2014, all advertising commercials, sponsorship messages and promotions broadcast on television stations in Canada must be aired with closed captions for the hearing impaired. This requirement may necessitate that you add closed captioning to commercials previously produced and aired that will be broadcast on or after September 1st.
For a complete explanation of the requirements, please download the Institute of Communications Agencies (ICA) member bulletin.
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Native Advertising Once Again In The Spotlight
As we have previously reported here, native advertising is intended to form a part of users’ online experiences, aiming to engage and compel with minimal disruption. Often the content of native advertising is high quality, reaching out to an audience’s wants and needs, sometimes going viral. Clearly marketers are working within divergent boundaries; creating…
Super Ads for the Super Bowl 2014
Once again advertisers triumphed with their creativity in the Super Bowl ads, this year costing them a reported $4million per 30-second spot. We saw Don Cheadle, his llama, and a ping-pong playing Arnie for Bud Light’s “Epic Night”, and speaking of A-list celebrities, how about Bruce Willis hugging it out for Honda? Sodastream avoided 2013’s competitor-targeting…
ASA Sets New Standards For Non-Broadcast Advertising
Last week the ASA announced that it has struck a new deal with Trading Standards to enable the membership association to act as a legal backstop to take action against brands who persistently breach the CAP code through "misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair" non-broadcast ads. Trading standards can consider taking action against advertisers referred by…