FTC Finally Does Something Right

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 23, 2009 | Published in

Looks like the Federal Trade Commission finally found the balls that Dubya hid in the basement of the Smithsonian. They are close to passing a rule that would ban commercials that use the phrases"results not typical" or "individual results may vary."

Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers' ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like "results not typical" or "individual results may vary."

Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes."

For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials," said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices. "The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical."

The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers' claims. The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don't comply.

That means no more Jared Fogle ads, no more body builders hocking diet pills, no more guys in Ferraris telling you how they made millions overnight in the real estate business. Late night cable TV will have to find a whole new batch of advertisers who will have to think of some other loophole to defraud people with.

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