brand challengers

L'Oreal Resolves FTC Suit Over Gene Regenerating Claims

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 1, 2014 01:08 PM

L’Oréal USA hasn't found the fountain of youth, and so it's finally settling its deceptive advertising charges with the FTC over claims that it made about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products.

The FTC claimed that L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims about its products, namely that they provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes.

“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, according to USA Today. “But L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims.”

L’Oréal’s national campaign claimed Génifique products were “clinically proven” to “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins,” resulting in “visibly younger skin in just 7 days.” For its Youth Code products, L’Oréal advertised (in English and Spanish) the “new era of skin care: gene science,” letting consumers “crack the code to younger acting skin.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

Fisher-Price Under Fire for Making False Claims About Educational Apps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 01:43 PM

After new parents nail down the basics of changing daipers and hourly feedings, most are concerned with building their new bundle of joy's cognitive level. With a more than ample amount of products, including videos, books and apps available to choose from, a parent's investment in education can start pretty early. However, not every product and method out there lives up to its claims, which is where Fisher-Price is finding itself these days. 

The longtime toymaker and others like them have come under fire by advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has said that the companies involved have all produced mobile apps that claim to be able to help kids get smarter—but actually can’t. The Washington Times reports that the group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the practice.Continue reading...

truth in advertising

FTC Updates Ad Regulations to Enforce Full Disclosure Across Platforms

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 13, 2013 04:12 PM

Marketers beware: think carefully before placing promotional messages that require disclosures or disclaimers to avoid being deceptive or unfair, according to new regulations announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC has revised its Dot Com Disclosures guide to reflect the rise of mobile platforms, leaving no room for lack of requisite disclosures even in smaller spaces with finer print. The original guide, released in 2000, pre-dated smartphones, tablets and mobile—not to mention the dominance of social media as a marketing platform.

The new guidelines, released Tuesday, emphasize "that consumer protection laws apply equally to marketers across all mediums, whether delivered on a desktop computer, a mobile device, or more traditional media such as television, radio, or print."Continue reading...

fool disclosure

After Cyber Monday, FTC Gives Bloggers "Disclosure Tuesday"

Posted by Peter Feld on December 1, 2009 06:24 PM

Cyber Monday is being pronounced a success, with shopping up 13.7% and Amazon reportedly edging Wal-Mart.

The folks at the US Federal Trade Commission had their heads screwed on straight for once, by deciding to wait until the day after Cyber Monday to launch new rules requiring bloggers and celebrities to disclose when they promote a product online for pay, or in exchange for free stuff. (I know: as if anyone there even made the connection.) Well, we kind of joked about who might get caught up in these rules -- and questioned whether celebrities who tweet for pay will test the trust of their audience -- but, we suddenly notice (just in time!), we are included.

The FTC has been under fire from bloggers for issuing strict rules without sufficient guidelines or consumer education, considering that fines can range up to $11,000. It has promised to target advertisers, not bloggers, or maybe just big fish, or maybe not heavily fine the little fish -- which has raised concerns of selective prosecution. In a "heated but civil" interview between blogger Edward Champion and the FTC's Richard Cleland, it's noted that partner marketing links such as Amazon Associates are included in the disclosure requirements.

Well, as brandchannel readers have likely noticed, we use Amazon Associates. This is a well-known program that pays participants for referring business to Amazon, via links which are easily seen (because the URL string includes "brandchannelcom") and which will bring a fairly small amount of revenue to the site if you follow that link and make a purchase. We've included them for many years when we link to media (books that are reviewed, or films in our brandcameo section), and have been using them on this blog when referring to certain products Amazon sells. (Those references being there because they belong in the story, not so as to send business to Amazon.)Continue reading...

follow the money

The Following Positive Review Is Brought To You By The Brand Being Reviewed

Posted by Anthony Zumpano on October 16, 2009 05:36 PM

No one would confuse an amateur review of a Nikon D5000 on a site like Associated Content or Epinions with a more thorough overview of digital cameras from Consumer Reports magazine. But starting December 1, the Federal Trade Commission will care whether the writers received their review products for free – or whether they were paid to write a positive review.

This branding issue cuts both ways: The photographer who reviewed the D5000 wants to be respected as an authority on photography products. So if it's later learned he received a product he praised, his personal brand integrity takes a hit. Likewise, there’s a limit to the kinds of promotion that most consumers will accept from a brand, and blatant payola usually crosses the line.Continue reading...

brand news

Headline Roundup: Brand It Like Beckham

Posted by Stephanie Startz on October 16, 2009 08:21 AM

Banana Republic suffers losing year, Gap stands behind brand. [BNET]

Gap plans expansion into China. [FT]

Bank of America's departing chief Ken Lewis will forgo 2009 pay. [NY Times]

Goldman Sachs's success draws resentment, negative publicity. [NY Times]

USOC enforces "Olympic" trademark. [LA Times]

England calls on Becks to bolster 2018 Olympic bid. [Times of London]

Bloggers react to FTC product placement rules. [NY Times]

(More headlines: branded electric car sounds, Fox and NatGeo.)Continue reading...

fool disclosure

US Requires Disclosure From Paid Bloggers And Celebs On Twitter

Posted by Peter Feld on October 5, 2009 04:57 PM

The practice of sponsored blogging, which we called out last week, is in for some new regulation from the US government. Ad Age reports that the Federal Trade Commission has voted to "require bloggers to clearly disclose any 'material connection' to an advertiser, including payments for an endorsement or free product," starting December 1, with fines up to $11,000. The new rules also govern celebrity endorsements.

Ad Age calls the new rules "the most far-reaching attempt to stamp some guidelines of conduct on the blogosphere, which generally operates according to informal codes and the notion that 'inauthentic' bloggers -- including those not disclosing commercial relationships -- will suffer in the web's court of public opinion."Continue reading...

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