Key Updates:

  • On May 1, 2024, BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) issued a compliance warning stating that its Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising (Advertising Guidelines) and Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Online Privacy Protection (Privacy Guidelines) apply to artificial intelligence (AI) in advertising and data collection targeted at children under 13.
  • CARU warns brands that it will strictly enforce its Advertising Guidelines and Privacy Guidelines in connection with the use of AI to protect children, who are more vulnerable to advertising and whose data collection poses special concerns.

Continue Reading CARU Issues Warning About Using AI in Child-Directed Advertising and Data Collection

In an unusual decision[1] this month, the National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs (NAD) recommended that Planting Hope Brands (PHB), a plant-based food and beverage company, discontinue its use of the registered trademark symbol or ® on the packaging and advertising for its product RIGHTRICE, a plant-derived flour-based kernel. Continue Reading Is Your Trademark Notice an Advertising Claim?

Key Update:

  • Online marketplaces must comply with key requirements in the Act by June 27, 2023, to avoid penalties for noncompliance.

Continue Reading INFORM Act Addresses Online Marketplace Transparency With Harsh Penalties for Noncompliance

The new Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising (the Guidelines) issued by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) went into effect on January 1, 2022. The Guidelines apply to advertising that is primarily directed at children under the age of 13 in any medium. CARU will monitor child-directed advertising and media for compliance with the Guidelines

Key Takeaways:

  • The FTC is prioritizing investigations into and actions against false and misleading advertisements in healthcare markets.
  • Companies with healthcare products, especially those advertising medical treatments, should take care to ensure they do not overstate the efficacy of those treatments and back up advertising with necessary scientific evidence.

Continue Reading FTC Follows Through on Prioritizing Investigations into False Advertising in Healthcare Markets

Key Takeaways:

  • The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has released new guidelines for children’s advertising, moving beyond traditional TV advertising, to address a broader range of digital advertising issues.
  • The updated Guidelines go into effect on January 1, 2022 and apply to advertising that is primarily directed to children under age 13 in any medium or content.

Continue Reading CARU Updates Children’s Advertising Guidelines

Key Takeaways:

  • Brands should honor advertised product benefits and avoid techniques to block product use.
  • Under the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (and state auto-renewal laws), advertisers must disclose material terms and conditions and obtain consumers’ express consent before charging a payment card or account.

The FTC and MoviePass recently settled related to allegations that the company used deceptive tactics to prevent subscribers from using its service and insecurely held subscribers’ private information. The FTC’s complaint alleged that MoviePass used three tactics, described below, in a perceived attempt to save money on their $9.95 per month subscription service that was advertised as providing unlimited access to certain films in theaters.

Limiting Subscribers’ Usage: The FTC alleged that MoviePass, its parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc. (Helios), and its principals Mitchell Lowe and Theodore Farnsworth, scrambled at the high demand for the subscription service and took steps to prevent users from receiving the advertised “one movie per day” that they had paid for in order to cut costs. The FTC listed the following deceptive or unfair tactics that MoviePass operators allegedly engaged in to set up roadblocks for consumers:
Continue Reading MoviePass Settles with the FTC Regarding Limitations on Subscribers’ Usage

On April 29, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a public workshop to examine consumer protection issues related to “dark patterns”—website and app interface features designed to subvert or impair consumer autonomy, decision-making, or choices.

In a recent statement, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra defined dark patterns as “design features used to deceive, steer, or manipulate users into behavior that is profitable for an online service, but often harmful to users or contrary to their intent.” According to Chopra, examples of dark patterns include “misdirection, confusing language, hidden alternatives, or fake urgency to steer people toward or away from certain choices.”  The FTC recently warned against employing a “roach motel” dark pattern scenario, specifically where it is easy for consumers to enter into a digital subscription program, but nearly impossible to escape (unsubscribe).
Continue Reading FTC Announces Workshop to Address Digital “Dark Patterns”