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FTC Overview for Online Endorsements
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FTC Overview for Online Endorsements

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Created for use at the midwestmomsmedia Summit.

Created for use at the midwestmomsmedia Summit.

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • 1.       Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising The complete text of the guidelines may be located here.    Major takeaways:  • Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.• A post by a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement.• If a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization.Case study:• To promote the launch of its summer collection, Ann Taylor LOFT invited bloggers to attend an exclusive preview of its 2010 summer collection. "Bloggers who attend will receive a special gift," the invitation read, "and those who post coverage from the event will be entered in a mystery gift card drawing where you can win up to $500 at LOFT!"• In small print on the invitation: "Please note all bloggers must post coverage from our event to their blog within 24 hours in order to be eligible. Links to post must be sent to [e-mail address], along with the code on the back of your gift card distributed to you at the event. You will be notified of your gift card amount by February 2. Gift card amounts will vary from $10 to $500."• “We were concerned that bloggers who attended a preview on January 26, 2010 failed to disclose that they received gifts for posting blog content about that event,” Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director-advertising practices, wrote in a letter dated April 20 to Ann Taylor’s legal representation.• Closing letter from the FTC regarding the Ann Taylor case: “Some of the bloggers failed to disclose that they had received free gifts from LOFT. The FTC ultimately determined not to recommend an enforcement action, because, in part ‘LOFT adopted a written policy . . . stating that LOFT will not issue any gift to any blogger without first telling the blogger that the blogger must disclose the gift in his or her blog.’ The FTC also noted that they expect the  @PRsarahevans     www.sevansstrategy.com  
  • 2.       company to monitor bloggers’ compliance with the obligation to disclose gifts they receive from LOFT.”Example disclosure – Blog or websiteThis policy is valid from 07 June 2010This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog,please contact sarah@sevansstrategy.com.This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topicinsertions. However, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel,event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.The owner(s) of this blog will never receive compensation in any way from this blog.This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This contentmay not always be identified. We are employed by or consult with: Company 1,Company 2. We serve on the following corporate or non profit boards: Example 1. Weare active in a political party which influences our blog: Affiliation 1. We blog aboutpeople to whom we are related. The most interesting such people are: My mom. Wehave a financial interest in the following that are relevant to our blogging: Investment 1.You can create your own simple disclosure at:http://disclosurepolicy.org/generator/generate_policy.Example disclosure – Short status update - WOMMA Recommendations• #spon (sponsored)• #paid (paid)• #samp (sample)Complete overview of WOMMA recommendations:http://womma.org/ethics/disclosure/Social-Media-Marketing-Disclosure.pdf.  @PRsarahevans     www.sevansstrategy.com  

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