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Stations Take Note: FTC Urges Caution on Deceptive Endorsements

- Common Advertising Ploy Could Lead to Costly Fines

While it’s common for business marketers to use an endorsement in advertising, stations need to exercise caution with such campaigns because a deceptive endorsement could lead to fines starting at nearly $44,000 for each violation. The Federal Trade Commission last week warned the advertising industry that penalties could be on the horizon.

Communications attorney David Oxenford counsels that while FTC enforcement typically targets the advertisers, broadcasters should be aware of these guidelines and not mislead their clients into campaigns that could prove problematic.

Oxenford is a partner with the Wilkinson Baker Knauer law firm, a TAB Associate Member.

FTC Business Advertising Resources

Generally, the agency expects that when an endorser speaks about a product, the endorser used the product and the statements made are accurate and reflect what consumers can expect from that product. They also require disclosure of consideration paid for any kind of endorsement, including social media posts.

Prohibited practices include, but are not limited to:

  • Falsely claiming an endorsement by a third party
  • Misrepresenting whether an endorser is an actual, current, or recent user
  • Using an endorsement to make deceptive performance claims
  • Failing to disclose an unexpected material connection with an endorser
  • Mispresenting that the experience of endorsers represents consumers’ typical or ordinary experience

In a recent blog post, Oxenford reminds readers of concerns for podcasters and shares other resources he’s published regarding use of endorsements in advertising.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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