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Mark Goodrich provides guidance on a variety of advertising compliance matters and helps brands navigate complex state, federal and local advertising, promotion and consumer protection laws. Mark’s experience includes counseling related to claim substantiation, endorsements and testimonials, deceptive pricing, discount or coupon offers, negative option or “automatic renewal” of subscriptions, cause marketing, online disclosures, intellectual property rights, free offers, native advertising, and other Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules and guidelines. He also frequently drafts rules for contests, sweepstakes and related games, and provides counsel on how to structure promotions to comply with state and federal laws.

Key Update:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to the American Beverage Association (AmeriBev), The Canadian Sugar Institute, and 12 health influencers, citing concerns over inadequate disclosures in Instagram and TikTok posts promoting aspartame or sugar-containing products.
  • The FTC claimed the trade associations might not have adequately disclosed influencer relationships, emphasizing the necessity for disclosures in both audio and text if a representation is conveyed through both audible and visual means.
  • The FTC also discouraged reliance on built-in platform disclosure features, noting that such features do not guarantee an effective method for influencers to disclose material connections.

Continue Reading FTC Warns Trade Associations and Influencers About Social Media Posts Promoting Sugar

The Federal Trade Commission recently finalized updates to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address the FTC’s latest thinking about how the truth-in-advertising standards under the FTC Act apply to endorsement and review-related issues.

The updated Guides expand or clarify guidance related to (1) who can be considered

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to expand its “Negative Option Rule” to apply to all recurring subscription programs (Proposed Amendment). The Proposed Amendment would have a sweeping effect on recurring subscriptions, requiring—similarly to some state laws—clear and conspicuous disclosure of material terms, double opt-ins for sign-ups, a simple cancellation method, and an annual renewal reminder. If approved, the Proposed Amendment would set a nationwide floor by requiring specific practices for subscriptions, but it would not supplant existing state laws addressing recurring subscriptions. The amendment would also greatly expand the FTC’s ability to seek penalties and consumer redress for violations.Continue Reading FTC Proposes Rulemaking for Recurring Subscription Programs

Another new year begun, so it’s time for retailers to revisit advertising and marketing law compliance strategies to avoid class actions, regulatory enforcement actions, and competitor challenges. We share our picks for the top five U.S. marketing law topics that deserve your attention in 2023.

On June 3, 2022, the FTC made a request for comments about .com disclosures, including the increased use of dark patterns, manipulative user interface design, and other forms of digital deception that pose unique risks to consumers online and in the mobile space. The FTC is considering updating and reissuing its guidance document “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising,” last revised in March 2013.Continue Reading FTC Seeking Public Input to Modernize Digital Advertising Guidance

To encourage transparency and compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and address current practices and trends, the FTC first published the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (Guides) in 1980 and then amended them in 2009. The Guides reflect the FTC’s position on applying the FTC Act to endorsement-related issues.Continue Reading FTC Proposes Updated Guidance for Influencer and Consumer Review Programs

Key Takeaways:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued two new guides for platforms and marketers to help ensure transparency in online reviews and address soliciting, moderating, and reporting reviews, and the use of third-party “reputation boosting” services.
  • The FTC has actively enforced against companies responsible for publishing deceptive reviews and blocking honest reviews, and recently announced a proposed $4.2 million settlement with online retailer Fashion Nova over the retailer’s practice of review-gating.

Continue Reading FTC Guidance for Platforms and Marketers Utilizing Online Customer Reviews

Key Takeaways:

  • On October 4, 2021, California passed an amended automatic renewal law that will require businesses to follow stricter cancellation and notice requirements for subscription-based products and services.
  • The updated law goes into effect on July 1, 2022.

Continue Reading California Passes Updated Automatic Renewal Law