On October 5, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to revise its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising for the first time since 1980.1 These revisions affect the manner in which advertisers may use endorsements and testimonials to promote consumer products or services in advertisements. Most notably, for ads using testimonials featuring “non-typical” product or service results, the FTC will require clear disclosure of what consumers should generally expect. A “results not typical” disclaimer is no longer sufficient for compliance. Additionally, the FTC will apply the Guides to endorsements disseminated through new media outlets such as blogs (and presumably social networking sites). Failure to comply with these new guidelines may result in potential enforcement actions and other penalties. The new Guides will take effect on December 1, 2009.
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