sealEveryone loves an award.  It is one thing when a marketer promotes its own product but to be able to back promises with a seal, a certificate, or other third-party recognition of greatness gives extra confidence to consumers that this is a product they can really trust.  There has been much talk recently about dos and don’ts with use of seals.  ‎The FTC has brought multiple cases when companies offering seals allegedly fail to research and properly certify the companies it does business with to ensure compliance with the articulated award standards, including in cases involving green seals and Made in USA.  Last week we wrote about a similar case involving the TRUSTe COPPA safe harbor seal. NAD recently examined use of seals from a different angle, considering whether by use of a seal a marketer was conveying an overly broad promise about its product. The case reminds us of principles the FTC articulated in its Green Guides that a marketer is responsible to define and explain what a seal means to its consumers unless it is patently clear from the seal itself. Like many things we advertising lawyers do, this is often easier said than done!
Continue Reading Is It Safe To Use Seals to Promote Your Product? NAD Says Foo to FuHu

Kids say the darndest things, and California wants to make sure that when it comes to their online postings those kids get a do-over.  On January 2015, California law SB 568 entitled “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World” will go into effect, allowing minors to remove certain posted online content as well as restricting certain types of online advertising directed to minors.

We have previously discussed California (see posts) and its continued stance as a leader in data privacy legislation, and this is no different.  California’s enactment of SB 568 focuses on expanding the online safeguards that the FTC put in place for minors with COPPA, as well as giving a nod to a topic of heavy debate in Europe—the right to be forgotten.Continue Reading California Enacts Law Protecting Minors’ Digital Privacy Rights

We are close to live blogging from the annual NAD Advertising Law Conference and for those who could not join us, we wanted to share highlights from its opening — keynote speaker FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  The FTC typically uses this conference to lay out its enforcement priorities relevant to national advertisers and gives us all a peek into the crystal ball for the coming year.  So here’s what we heard.
Continue Reading Live (almost) from New York, It’s the NAD Annual Conference

Sometimes we just like to share things with our readers because they make us laugh.  Belly laughs out loud.  It has been some time since we shared an ad with you where we had to warn you to shut your door before you watched (last one was probably Dollar Shave or DirectTV) but here you go:

But since we are a law blog and not just a blog of funny things, we should include some lessons here. And so this ad makes us think about learning claims.  Programs that purport to help children or adults learn new or better skills have long been an enforcement focus.  They may not rise to the priority level of health or weight loss claims but have been on the regulatory radar screen for many years.  Back in the 1990s, the FTC brought cases against Zygon’s Learning Machine and Gateway Learning’s Hooked on Phonics with settlements requiring competent and reliable scientific evidence to support claims that a product will teach a particular skill such as reading or learning a foreign language.  The Center for Commercial Free Childhood has been very active in suggesting cases to the FTC to review.  And while there is no guarantee such complaints result in an investigation, they often will. 
Continue Reading What Are We Thinking About? Learning Claims!

BoyScout PhotoThe Boy Scouts of America failed to get their compliance badge from CARU earlier this month after the BSA ran a sweepstakes ad that lacked the appropriate odds of winning disclosures.  The BSA’s Boy’s Life Magazine failed to include the “Many Will Enter, Five Will Win” odds statement in the magazine’s ad announcing the

The Clock Is Ticking – Is COPPA Compliance a “Mission Impossible”?

On July 1, 2013, sweeping new regulations for marketing to children take effect. In updating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has extended its reach to new businesses and new information.

In this upcoming session presented by

From a marketing standpoint companies always want to know who the target audience is for the advertising, but sometimes it becomes important from a legal standpoint as well.  In some instances arguments regarding the target audience can be helpful.  Claims are usually interpreted with regard to the “reasonable consumer” but in some instances claims that