Marketing can make or break a business. Good marketers know the most effective ways to get a product or service in front of target consumers. Great marketers know the tactics, in addition to relevant marketing laws.
Marketing guidelines — which are primarily drafted and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission — are meant to protect consumers from mountebanks and manipulators. Companies must be truthful and substantiate selling points. Costly fines await businesses that don’t comply with truth and advertising standards.
Is There A List Of Truth And Advertising Laws?
Different truth and advertising laws apply to mail order products, telephone sales, and financial products. Enforcement of these regulations is primarily executed by the Federal Trade Commission, district attorneys, attorneys general, and consumer protection agencies.
The FTC offers policy statements, detailed guidance, workshops and current notifications for their complex — occasionally vague — online marketing regulations. To get you started, go here for a list of FTC marketing dos-and-don’ts.
Disclosures: The Key To Staying Compliant
The FTC loves disclosures. So, if you want to assure compliance with truth in advertising regulations, use them liberally in online marketing materials.
- Be placed near or on the same screen as the triggering claim;
- Use visual cues; and
- Be properly labeled in a consistent style.
Truth and Product Labeling
Product labeling is also affected by truth in advertising laws.
Food Advertising and Labeling
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has labeling guidelines for:
- Prescription Drugs (for both the humans and animals)
- Biological Products
- Nutritional Food Labels
- Dietary Supplements
- Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs
- Medical Devises that Emit Radiation
Appliance and Electronics Labeling
Appliance and electronics labels must include:
- The “estimated yearly operating cost” of the appliance or product.
- The “estimated yearly energy use” of the appliance or product.
- The “energy use” range.
- Textiles need labeling for the type of fabric, as well as the care of the fabric. There is the Care Labeling Rule, Revised Leather Guides, and Cashmere Labeling Conference — to name a few.
All of these truth in advertising laws can be overwhelming for startups and established businesses. An Internet lawyer will save you time and money by making sure your advertising and marketing is always on the right side of the law.