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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mary Engle of the FTC talks about blogger disclosure and WOM

video

Suppose you meet someone who tells you about a great new product. It performs exactly as advertised and offers fantastic new features. Would that endorsement factor into your decision to buy the product?  Probably.

Now suppose you learn that the person works for the company that sells the product – or has been paid by the company to tout the product. Would you want to know that when you’re evaluating the endorser’s glowing recommendation? You bet. 

That common-sense premise is at the heart of the revised Endorsement Guides issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency.

The revised Guides – issued after public comment and consumer research – reflect three basic truth-in-advertising principles:
  • Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading;
  • If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances; and
  • If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed.

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