An Insiders Look at the FTC’s New Advertiser Guidelines

by Lisa Picarille on January 14, 2010

Welcome to the Performance Marketing Association Industry Report, a podcast dedicated to the most pressing issues impacting advertisers, publishers, networks and agencies. This time around we talked about the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,

Lisa Picarille moderated this episode and was joined by Tom Cohn and Rich Cleland.

Tom Cohn is an attorney with Venable. He focuses his practice on advising clients on the legal and practical aspects of compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations and industry self-regulation programs as well as representing clients during enforcement actions. Previously he spent 17 years with the FTC as Regional Director for the Northeast Region, in the Division of Marketing Practices with the FTC, and as legal advisor to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Rich Cleland is the Assistant Director for the Division of Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission. His primary area of expertise is the advertising and marketing of health-related products and services. He also supervises many of the Commission’s health fraud and weight-loss product and service law enforcement initiatives. Rich also supervised the Commission’s review of the Endorsement and Testimonial Guides. Prior to joining the Federal Trade Commission, Rich served as Special Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Division of Consumer Protection in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

We discussed the impetus for creating these guidelines; how long it took to come up with the guidelines and who was involved in the process; how the FTC looks for violators; what types of people are most like to be considered offenders; the consequences of not adhering to the guidelines; the educational efforts of the FTC surrounding he guidelines; what makes a good disclaimer or disclosure; why these may or may not work; and much more.

Different types of disclosures
The addition of cartoons in disclaimers

The FTC guidelines
The PMA guidelines

For more information you can go to

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