Advertising and Marketing

Whether a business is an established global brand or a start-up, effective advertising and marketing can be the key to its success.  All businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that advertising is truthful and not deceptive.  And no matter where an ad appears – on the Internet, on the radio or television, in newspapers and magazines, in the mail, or on billboards or buses – the same truth-in-advertising standard applies.  Additional standards apply if you use telemarketing in your promotional efforts.
 

Advertising and Marketing Basics

Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.

Children

If you advertise directly to children or market kid-related products to their parents, it’s important to comply with truth-in-advertising standards.  (Questions about kids’ privacy?  Check out the FTC's resources about COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.  The FTC also has a special page about food advertising to children and adolescents.)

Endorsements

Do you use endorsements or testimonials in your marketing?  Do they meet the standards of the FTC Act and the Endorsement Guides?  Find out more by consulting FTC compliance resources.

Environmental Marketing

Companies are offering consumers an ever-growing assortment of “green" options.  But whether your environmental claims are about the product or the packaging, you'll need competent and reliable scientific evidence to support what you say.  Find out more by consulting the FTC's revised Green Guides.  Have you spotted what you think might be a deceptive claim or practice?  File a complaint.

Health Claims

Companies must support their advertising claims with solid proof.  This is especially true for businesses that market food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, contact lenses, and other health-related products.

Made in USA

Do you promote your products as "Made in the USA"?  Under the law, some products must disclose U.S. content.  For others, manufacturers and marketers who choose to make claims about the amount of U.S. content must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy.  Is your company up on what's required?

Online Advertising and Marketing

The Internet connects marketers to customers across the country and around the world. If you advertising online, remember the rules and guidelines that protect consumers also help businesses by maintaining the credibility of the Internet as a marketing medium. In addition, truth-in-advertising standards apply if you sell computers, software, or other tech-related products or services.  (Questions about kids' privacy online?  Read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.)

Telemarketing

The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule helps protect consumers from fraudulent telemarketing calls and gives them certain protections under the National Do Not Call Registry.  Companies also need to be familiar with rules banning most forms of robocalling.  If you or someone working on your behalf is telemarketing products or services, know the dos and don’ts before you plan your strategy.