With the first quarter of 2024 in full swing, it is a good time for brands to revisit marketing compliance strategies to minimize the risk of potential class actions, regulatory enforcement actions, and competitor challenges. This Update highlights hot topics in advertising law for 2024.

Click here to read the full Update.

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

Key Updates:

  • On October 11, 2023, the FTC proposed a new rule that it claims will end deceptive “junk fees.” The FTC defines junk fees as “bait-and-switch pricing tactics” that conceal required charges while misleading consumers about the actual price of items.
  • The FTC claims the proposed rule is expected to save consumers more than 50 million hours each year in the search for total price of items, particularly in live event ticketing and short-term lodging.

Continue Reading Junk Fees Under Scrutiny: FTC Issues Proposed Rulemaking

The FTC released a staff paper in September 2023 directed at businesses and social media influencers who promote products to children online. The paper includes findings from the FTC’s October 2022 workshop, “Protecting Kids From Stealth Advertising in Digital Media,” which addressed the issue of blurred advertising that makes it hard for children to distinguish advertising content from other digital content.Continue Reading FTC Staff Perspective: Preventing Blurred Advertising to Children

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

Key Update:

  • Publishers Clearing House (PCH), a direct marketing company known for its sweepstakes, has agreed to pay $18.5 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • The settlement follows allegations of deceptive practices, such as the use of “dark patterns” to encourage sweepstakes entries and purchases.
  • As part of the settlement, PCH agreed to redesign its user interface in order to avoid confusion and ensure transparency.

Continue Reading FTC’s Secures $18.5 Million Settlement With Publishers Clearing House for Alleged Dark Pattern Sweepstakes Tactics

The FTC published the proposed Negative Option Rule (Rule) to the Federal Register on April 24, 2023, with the goal of preventing unfair and deceptive practices related to recurring subscriptions for products and services. The FTC has invited the public to comment on proposed changes to the Rule. Written comments must be submitted by June

Key updates:

  • Under its Penalty Offense Authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned almost 700 marketers with a Notice of Penalty Offenses (Notice) that certain advertising claims must be proven or substantiated with reliable evidence, especially those related to health products, or they may face civil penalties.
  • Advertisers should have a reasonable basis for health claims, including complying with recognized scientific standards when making claims about the effectiveness of their products in curing, mitigating, or treating significant conditions such as cancer or heart disease.
  • The Notice comes on the heels of the FTC updates to Health Products Compliance Guidance (the Health Guides) and indicates the FTC continues to scrutinize health claims.

Continue Reading Another Round of Notice of Penalty Offenses—The FTC Targets Health Claims

As part of its assessment of the Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a workshop on May 23, 2023, to consider “recyclable” advertising claims and issues related to environmental claims. The workshop is titled “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides.”Continue Reading FTC To Hold Workshop on “Recyclable” Claims as Part of Continuing Green Guides Review