Marketing can make or break a business. Good marketers knowing the most effective ways to get a product or service in front of your target consumers. Great marketers understand relevant marketing laws. And a successful marketing campaign must comply with truth and advertising laws.
The goal of marketing laws is to protect consumers from putting their faith in false claims. Companies need to be truthful about their products and be able to substantiate their claims. If a business does not comply with truth and advertising laws it’s subject to costly lawsuits and civil penalties. The basic rules are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Among other things, advertising must be:
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, state district attorneys and consumer protection agencies, in addition to attorneys general.
The FTC offers policy statements, detailed guidance, workshops and current notifications for their complex — and often vague — online marketing regulations. Here are some helpful links:
- Explanation of the Dot Com Disclosures (a.k.a., the FTC’s online marketing regulations Bible)
- Official FTC Website
- A bunch of blog posts explaining various aspects of FTC online marketing rules.
- Rules regarding marketing “testimonials” and “fake reviews”
Disclosures: The Key To Staying On Consumer Watchdog’s Good Side
The FTC loves disclosures. So, if you want to make sure you’re in compliance with various truth and advertising laws and regulations, jam-pack your online marketing programs with them.
- Be placed near or on the same screen as the triggering claim.
- Use visual cues to encourage consumers to scroll down to view the disclosure.
- Make hyperlinks that lead to disclosures obvious and properly labeled as well as using a consistent style.
Truth and Product Labeling
Product labeling is another area affected by truth and 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, Cashmere Labeling Conference — to name a few.
All of these truth and advertising laws can be overwhelming for someone just starting out in business. Even companies that have been compliant for years need to keep updated about changes. An Internet lawyer will save your business time and money by making sure your advertising and marketing is always on the right side of the law.