1. Ten Things to Do So Your Ads
Comply With International
Compliance with International Laws
2. International Laws & Code of Ethics
• Whenever you enter a new market as an
advertising professional you must study the
working of Consumer Protection Society and
Consumer Protection Laws in that country.
• Try to get your hands on case studies in this
• Remember your advertising messages are
expensive and any failure in understanding the
Advertising Laws of a particular country may
prove detrimental for your career.
3. Make Sure that You Substantiate Your
• Make Sure that You Substantiate Your Advertising
Claims. Advertising substantiation is an important step
to make sure your ads comply with all advertising
laws, you must be sure that each one of your
advertising claims is substantiated before you
disseminate the advertisement containing the claim(s).
• The FTC is a federal agency in US with a dual mission
to protect consumers and promote competition.
• The Federal Trade Commission issued a Policy
Statement articulating its policy as to this important
advertising legal compliance area.
• FTC vigorously enforces the requirement that
advertisers must substantiate their express and implied
4. Be Sure that Your Advertising Claims
• This is not nearly as easy as it sounds. The starting
point for any advertiser, ad agency or their attorney is
the FTC Policy Statement on Deception.
• It specifically bars false advertisements likely to induce
the purchase of food, drugs, devices or cosmetics.
• This statement defines a false ad for purposes of as one
that's "misleading in a material respect."
• Next, you should keep current with the plethora of FTC
and court decisions that have defined and explained-and continue to define and explain--the phrase
"deceptive acts or practices."
5. Make Certain that Your Advertising
Claims Aren't "Unfair."
Three key factors that FTC considers when applying the
prohibition against consumer unfairness:
• Whether the practice injures consumers,
• Whether it violates established public policy, and
• Whether it's unethical or unscrupulous.
Over the years, FTC has further defined and explained
these three key factors. The "unfairness" standard is one
more crucial advertising law doctrine of which all
advertisers, advertising agencies and their attorneys must
6. Make Sure Your Advertising Claims Measure
Up to the "Truth and Accuracy" Standard.
• Your ads will go a long way towards being
challenge-proof if they follow the basic test laid
out by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of
the Council of Better Business Businesses:
"truth and accuracy."
• In US, the advertising industry's self-regulatory
system was designed "to foster high standards of
truth and accuracy in national advertising.“
7. Be Certain Your Comparative Advertising Claims Are
Fully Substantiated and Are Not False or Deceptive.
• Because of the great benefits inherent in Comparative
Advertising, FTC looks at it in much the same way as
other types of advertising. Ultimately, the question is
whether the comparative advertising claim has a
tendency or capacity to be false or deceptive. The level
of substantiation required is also viewed as being the
same level required in other types of ads.
• Nevertheless, because a competitor is involved, you
should be certain that your ad claims possess sufficient
clarity and, if necessary, appropriate disclosures to
avoid deception to consumers.
• Keep in mind that your competitor is watching or
reading your comparative ad. And your competitor can
use the relevant Act to redress any wrongs.
8. Be Certain Your Comparative Advertising Claims Are
Fully Substantiated and Are Not False or Deceptive.
• FTC states that comparative advertising could
benefit consumers and encourages
comparative advertising, provided that the
comparisons are “clearly
identified, truthful, and non-deceptive”.
9. You Should Become Familiar with the Advertising
Law of the States Where You Do Business.
There are a plethora of questions you should be asking if you
plan to advertise your product or service in several or more
• Have you reviewed the legal appropriateness of your
company's or client's ads or package labels?
• Have you taken into account how that ad or label might be
used in court in a future product liability suit?
• Have you scrutinized all pre-market testing of your
company's or client's product to make sure no safety
questions might arise later?
• Do you also make any safety claims, express or implied?
• Have you reviewed any instructions accompanying the
product for a host of possible advertising compliance
10. Become a Student of the Advertising Law Developments on
Such New Media as the Internet, Mobile and Social Media.
• You should be aware of all of the major advertising law
development on the internet as these will clearly have an impact on
the way you advertise on this vital medium.
• A more significant change is the advent of social media. The
significance of this new way of networking - and doing business cannot be overstated. You should - for a start - have a Twitter
account and follow the key people in the advertising law field.
• Twitter can be an excellent resource to discover more about the
latest developments in advertising law. .
There are speed traps aplenty on the Internet. Examples:
• Global Legal Exposure
• Privacy Issues
• Wholesale Governmental Crackdown on Advertising in
• Mounting Federal and State Regulation of Cyberspace Ads
11. Do You Advertise to Children or Will Your Advertising
Reach Substantial Numbers of Children?
• Who monitors advertising to children? Here's
a partial list:
• Federal Trade Commission
• Food and Drug Administration
• Congress (i.e., House and Senate)
• State Legislatures
• The Children’s Advertising Review
• Private Trade Groups
12. What Are the Global Advertising Legal
Compliance Issues Facing Your Ads?
• Globalization of commerce has been increasing
rapidly. Even companies that don't consider
themselves global in scope, actually are. For
example, if you have a Website on the World
Wide Web, you can be accessed from anywhere
• Every country treats advertising law issues in
different ways. There is a wide variety of
international advertising standards and laws. In
most countries, for example, comparative
advertising is frowned upon or is downright
13. You've Scrutinized Your Ads for What They
Expressly Claim--What About Implied Claims?
Remember, you must substantiate all of your advertising claims. That
includes any implied claims. Have you carefully reviewed your ads for
such claims? Remember, just because you think your ad doesn't make
any implied claims is by no means the final word on this question. Who
else will be looking? Here's a partial list:
• Your competitors (who can and will do their own consumer testing to
prove an implied claim does exist);
• FDA (for products within its jurisdiction);
• State Attorneys General;
• CARU (for children's ads).
• This issue cuts across a wide variety of areas and is routinely covered by
above mentioned bodies.