In October 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) introduced a revised version of its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (the “Guides”). Key changes to the Guides include: (1) clarifying that the Guides apply to all advertising messages presented as the opinion or findings of a party other than the advertiser, regardless of the media that is used to disseminate the advertising message (e.g., blog, newspaper, infomercial, “word of mouth” marketing, talk show appearance); (2) elaborating on the types of situations involving new media (e.g., blogs, social networks) where the FTC will likely consider statements to be “advertising messages” sponsored by the advertiser; and (3) recommending that non-typical testimonials be accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure of generally expected results.
On June 23, 2010, the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Division of Consumer and Business Education posted “The FTC’s Revised Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking” (the “FAQs”), to help businesses and consumers better understand the FTC’s revisions to the Guides. The FTC’s FAQs address various questions the FTC has received since the revised Guides were introduced in October, including questions about when the revised Guides apply to endorsements in new media, how disclosures regarding a sponsored relationship or typical consumer results should be made, and how the Guides apply to affiliate and network marketing.
See the Kelley Drye client advisory for more details about the FAQs.