Category Archives: Advertising

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Trump To Nominate Competition-Focused Simons for FTC Chair, CP-Focused Chopra for Commissioner; Reports of Philips for Additional Seat

After months of speculation among the consumer protection and antitrust bars, Trump announced today his intention to nominate former Director of the Bureau of Competition and current Paul Weiss partner Joseph Simons as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  Trump also announced his plan to nominate Rohit Chopra, currently a senior fellow at the Consumer … Continue Reading

FTC’s “Made in USA” Enforcement On Pace With Prior Years

In a keynote address at the National Advertising Division conference earlier this month, Mary Engle, Associate Director in the Advertising Practices Division of the FTC, included “Made in USA” as among the agency’s current enforcement priorities.   The FTC’s interest in U.S. origin claims is nothing new, but these claims have garnered considerable regulatory attention in … Continue Reading

Moonlight Slumber Says “Goodnight” to Misleading and Unsubstantiated “Organic” Advertising Claims After Settlement with FTC

In its first case challenging “organic” claims, the FTC announced a settlement with Moonlight Slumber, LLC  resolving charges that the company misrepresented or could not support a variety of environmental and health-related claims about its baby mattresses. Misleading and Unsubstantiated Claims. The FTC’s complaint asserts that Moonlight advertised its baby mattresses as “organic,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic,” … Continue Reading

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, but It’s Not an Ingredient

The Food and Drug Administration has made the news lately for disapproving a Massachusetts bakery’s inclusion of “love” among the listed ingredients in its granola products.  Nashoba Brook Bakery produces breads and granolas that are sold in independent markets and fine-food stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As the FDA primly put it, “‘Love’ is not … Continue Reading

Three Reasons “Natural” Class Actions Are Here to Stay

In a review of new class action cases filed against in 2017, we counted at least 11 actions in the food industry alone alleging that a product was not “natural” or “all-natural” as claimed in its advertising or labeling. “Natural” is, by a healthy margin, the most contested single word in food and personal care … Continue Reading

What Does Tweeeeeting Mean for Advertisers?

This week, the news broke that tweets are likely getting longer.  Twitter plans to extend the maximum length of a tweet from 140 to 280 characters, and has already rolled this feature out to selected users.  What are the implications for advertisers, especially those struggling to cope with the need to disclose material connections to … Continue Reading

Government-Mandated Health Warnings in Sweetened Beverage Advertising Found Likely to Chill Protected Free Speech

On September 20, the Ninth Circuit blocked the City and County of San Francisco from implementing an ordinance that would have required health warnings on advertisements for beverages that contain one or more added sweeteners and more than 24 calories per 12 fluid ounces of beverage. The Ninth Circuit’s panel opinion, in reversing a district … Continue Reading

Gatorade Lands in Hot Water by Encouraging Others to Avoid Water

This week, the California Attorney General announced a settlement involving allegations that Gatorade made misleading claims about the relative performance benefits of Gatorade and water  in a mobile game that was targeted to teens. Players controlled a cartoon version of Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt, and ran a race to recover gold coins stolen by pirates. … Continue Reading

NAD Addresses “Best Selling” Claims

Benefit Cosmetics advertised that its They’re Real Mascara was the “#1 best-selling Prestige Mascara in the U.S.” and the “#1 best-selling Prestige Mascara in the U.S. for 3 years.” A disclosure linked to the first claim explained that the claim was based on NPD data from July 2015-June 2016, and a disclosure linked to the … Continue Reading

Will the FTC’s Deception Evidence Fall Short? Court to Rule in DirecTV Case

U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said Friday that the court would pause the trial to consider whether the FTC presented sufficient evidence to support its allegations that DirecTV misled consumers by failing to adequately disclose the terms of its two-year subscription and introductory pricing offer.  The judge instructed attorneys for DirecTV to file … Continue Reading

TINA Has Eyes on Goop

The consumer advocacy non-profit Truth in Advertising, Inc. (TINA.org) has set its sights on Goop, the lifestyle brand launched by Gwyneth Paltrow.  In a complaint filed earlier this week with the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County California district attorneys, both members of the California Food and Drug and medical Device Task Force, TINA alleges … Continue Reading

DirecTV and FTC Face Off in Federal Court Over Deceptive Pricing Claims; FTC Seeking $4 Billion in Equitable Relief

A bench trial began this week to resolve allegations by the FTC that DirecTV misled millions of consumers about the actual costs of its subscriptions.  According to the FTC, DirecTV should be required to pay $3.95 billion dollars to compensate consumers for failing to disclose that it would raise its monthly subscription price after a … Continue Reading

Comparison Pricing Victory for Ross Stores in California

On August 2, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a putative class action lawsuit against Ross Stores that accused the discount retailer of misleading promotional pricing practices. The lawsuit stemmed from February and May 2015 purchases by the two lead plaintiffs of items bearing price tags with a selling … Continue Reading

Laura Brett Named New Director of NAD

More than a month after the retirement of former NAD Director Andrea Levine, the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (“ASRC”) has announced NAD’s new Director: Laura Brett. Laura Brett, who has served as NAD’s Assistant Director since 2015, joined NAD in April of 2012. During her five years at NAD, Laura has authored several seminal decisions including … Continue Reading

Missing Ingredient Claims Lead Food Advertising Class Actions So Far in 2017

For the first 28 weeks of 2017, the most frequently alleged claims in new food and beverage false-advertising class actions have related to featured product ingredients that allegedly are absent, or present only in small quantities, in the food at issue. We reviewed news reports and other mentions of newly-filed food advertising class actions for … Continue Reading

Lessons from the World of Trampoline Marketing

Last year, we wrote about an NAD case involving trampoline marketing. The Trampoline Safety website featured reviews designed to help buyers purchase a trampoline. But unless website visitors looked closely at a disclosure at the bottom of the site, they probably wouldn’t have realized that trampolines that had received the highest ratings were made by … Continue Reading

CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle Emphasizes Collaboration, Balance, and Education

Acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) Ann Marie Buerkle highlighted her priorities and recent noteworthy developments in a recent newsletter.  She emphasized her desire to collaborate with stakeholders, to take a “balanced and reasonable approach” to regulation when data justifies rulemaking, and to use information campaigns to educate consumers and industry. She shared … Continue Reading

Bill Potentially Impacting “Made in USA” Claims Undergoing Committee Review

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a reading this week of the proposed S. 118 Reinforcing American-Made Products Act of 2017.   The bill proposes to amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to require the Federal Trade Commission’s regulation of the labeling of products as “Made … Continue Reading

Judge Upholds FTC Staff Opinion that Avatar Calls are Prerecorded Messages under TSR

Yesterday, a D.C. district court upheld a recent opinion letter issued by FTC staff that extended robocalling restrictions to telemarketing calls that use so-called soundboard technology or “avatars.”  This technology generally allows a live agent to communicate with a call recipient by playing recorded audio snippets instead of using his or her own live voice. … Continue Reading

“Geofencing” and Health-Related Targeted Advertising: Massachusetts AG Has Something to Say

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that her office had reached a settlement with a digital advertising company, Copley Advertising, Inc. (Copley), prohibiting the company from using mobile geofencing technology to target women at or near Massachusetts healthcare facilities to infer the health status, medical condition, or medical treatment of an individual. Geofencing … Continue Reading

NY AG Enters Mobile Health App Enforcement Arena with Settlements Targeting Health Claims and Privacy Practices

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced settlements with three mobile health app developers resolving allegations that they made deceptive advertisements and had irresponsible privacy practices. The Attorney General alleged that the developers sold and advertised mobile apps that purported to measure vital signs or other indicators of health using just a smartphone. The … Continue Reading

Oregon Attorney General Announces $545,000 Settlement with Retailer

The Oregon AG recently announced a $545,000 settlement with the Vitamin Shoppe over allegations that the store violated Oregon state law by selling dietary supplements containing ingredients that FDA has deemed unsafe or unlawful. The new settlement agreement places significant burdens on the Vitamin Shoppe to monitor developments on ingredient status. The burdens are the same regardless of whether the … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Highlights Risks of Using User-Generated Content

In 2014, Anheuser-Busch ran a contest on Facebook in which consumers were invited to submit photos of themselves “acting natural.” The contest rules stated that entrants could only submit their original works, and that the photos could not infringe anyone else’s copyrights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other rights. Moreover, the rules stated that entrants … Continue Reading
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