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Mini Law Lesson
(Public Service Announcement on)
Testimonials and Endorsements
Brian Heidelberger
bheidelb@winston.com
Twi...
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
• I am not your attorney.
• This is not legal advice.
2
Why Do We Need Refresher
Course?
• Recent FTC action against major agency
• Assistant AE sent an agency-wide email to staf...
FTC Guides Concerning
Endorsements and Testimonials
• Apply when both are present:
 “Endorsement”
• Opinion which is not ...
FTC Examples of When Disclosure
Is Required
1) Bloggers who get free stuff
2) Employees who write reviews for their compan...
Training Required
• Info re product/service touted
• Obligation to give honest opinion
• Obligation to disclose connection...
FTC Thought Disclosure Was
Required
• Ann Taylor
 Invited bloggers to event and gave
free stuff
• Hyundai
 Invited blogg...
FTC Brings Action Against PR
Agency
• Posted reviews of client’s video games
• Did not disclose that they were hired
to pr...
FTC Brought Action re Failure to
Disclose in Affiliate Program
• Used advertising affiliates to promote guitar
courses
• E...
FTC Brings Action Against
Home Security Company
• National family and safety expert known
as “The Safety Mom” appeared on
...
NY AG Fined Company for
“Fake” Testimonials
$300,000 Penalty
for Using “Fake”
Testimonial
11
Company Fined for Making Up
“Fake” Testimonials (cont.)
$300,000
Penalty
12
Having second thoughts? You won’t
be sorry, ju...
FTC Says Disclosure Must be
Easily Understood
FTC Says Disclosure Can’t Be At
End of Long Post
FTC Says Disclosure Must be
in Same Tweet
FTC Says Disclosure Must
Clearly Indicate “Connection”
“#ContestEntry”
NOT
“#ContestName”
Reminder of Obligations
• Info re product/service touted
• Obligation to give honest opinion
• Obligation to disclose conn...
How Does A Company
Disclose?
• #sponsored
• #ad
• #XZYemployee
• #XZYadagency
• #XYZcontestentry
• Disclosure should be “c...
What’s Not Ok?
• Not disclosing
• Disclosing in bio
• #spon
• #ee
• #genericstatement
• Posing as a consumer
19
youtube.com/adage
or
Youtube.com/brianheidelberger
20
Twitter
@BriHeidelberger
21
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Refresher on Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Social media

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Refresher on Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Social media

  1. 1. Mini Law Lesson (Public Service Announcement on) Testimonials and Endorsements Brian Heidelberger bheidelb@winston.com Twitter @briheidelberger www.winston.com/bheidelberger
  2. 2. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER • I am not your attorney. • This is not legal advice. 2
  3. 3. Why Do We Need Refresher Course? • Recent FTC action against major agency • Assistant AE sent an agency-wide email to staff to Tweet about client’s product  "This is sick . . . See the new Major Game System in action. The gaming #GameChanger“ • Agency employees tweeted on personal accounts • Failed to notify employees of their obligation to disclose relationship 3
  4. 4. FTC Guides Concerning Endorsements and Testimonials • Apply when both are present:  “Endorsement” • Opinion which is not the advertiser’s  “Sponsored Advertising Message” • “material connection” between person speaking and advertiser – Money – Free stuff – Contest entries – Employee of advertiser or its agency 4
  5. 5. FTC Examples of When Disclosure Is Required 1) Bloggers who get free stuff 2) Employees who write reviews for their company’s products 3) “Street team” members who get points/prizes for talking about products 4) Actors “cast” to appear in ads as real consumers 5) Real people who are aware that they will be appear in ad or be paid if they say something positive about product/service 5
  6. 6. Training Required • Info re product/service touted • Obligation to give honest opinion • Obligation to disclose connection • Monitoring • Takedown 6
  7. 7. FTC Thought Disclosure Was Required • Ann Taylor  Invited bloggers to event and gave free stuff • Hyundai  Invited bloggers to event asked them to link to commercial and gave them gift certificates 7
  8. 8. FTC Brings Action Against PR Agency • Posted reviews of client’s video games • Did not disclose that they were hired to promote the games
  9. 9. FTC Brought Action re Failure to Disclose in Affiliate Program • Used advertising affiliates to promote guitar courses • Endorsements were written as consumers without disclosing paid commission • $250,000 Settlement
  10. 10. FTC Brings Action Against Home Security Company • National family and safety expert known as “The Safety Mom” appeared on media touting home monitoring system • FTC believed :  Company represented the person was independent;  Failed to disclose connection; and  Failed to correct misleading impression • Investigation Included PR Agency 10
  11. 11. NY AG Fined Company for “Fake” Testimonials $300,000 Penalty for Using “Fake” Testimonial 11
  12. 12. Company Fined for Making Up “Fake” Testimonials (cont.) $300,000 Penalty 12 Having second thoughts? You won’t be sorry, just go for it! I feel and look great.
  13. 13. FTC Says Disclosure Must be Easily Understood
  14. 14. FTC Says Disclosure Can’t Be At End of Long Post
  15. 15. FTC Says Disclosure Must be in Same Tweet
  16. 16. FTC Says Disclosure Must Clearly Indicate “Connection” “#ContestEntry” NOT “#ContestName”
  17. 17. Reminder of Obligations • Info re product/service touted • Obligation to give honest opinion • Obligation to disclose connection • Monitoring • Takedown • Conduct training for employees (or at least send an email) 17
  18. 18. How Does A Company Disclose? • #sponsored • #ad • #XZYemployee • #XZYadagency • #XYZcontestentry • Disclosure should be “clear and conspicuous” and in conjunction with claim 18
  19. 19. What’s Not Ok? • Not disclosing • Disclosing in bio • #spon • #ee • #genericstatement • Posing as a consumer 19
  20. 20. youtube.com/adage or Youtube.com/brianheidelberger 20
  21. 21. Twitter @BriHeidelberger 21

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