Q&A: Guide to Launching Direct Response TV Marketing Campaigns—What Are the Legal Hurdles?

by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Direct response marketing has evolved into a $300 billion-per-year business, and a broad array of companies—from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies—continue to rely upon this effective form of advertising to drive interest in their products and services through direct contact with consumers.  As successful as these strategies have proven to be, it is critical for companies to understand the potential legal and regulatory pitfalls of advertising through direct response, and in particular, via a direct response marketing campaign on television ("DRTV").

To help DRTV marketers understand, proactively prepare for and avoid possible scrutiny from government regulators, Manatt's Ed Glynn, a partner in the Advertising, Marketing & Media practice, teamed up with Irv Brechner, EVP of Corporate Communications at acquirgy, to coauthor a reference guide for marketers who are planning to launch new DRTV campaigns.  This exclusive book ("ebook") published by acquirgy provides a roadmap of the key legal considerations for DR marketers and offers a reference checklist to help them navigate these thorny areas.  Our newsletter editors sat down with Ed, Irv and Steven Morvay (President at acquirgy) to learn more about the new ebook, "Legal Hurdles for DRTV Marketers: Don't Get Tripped Up on the Way to the Finish Line."

Editors:  Tell us a little bit about how the idea for this ebook was hatched and why these issues are so significant for DRTV marketers at this time. 

Brechner:  Over the past few years, acquirgy has developed a series of best practice ebooks for direct response marketers on a wide range of topics, from "Winning DRTV Strategies" to "The 'TV Tuneaway' Factor."  We are pleased to introduce "Legal Hurdles for DRTV Marketers" as the latest addition to our growing library—an informative and practical reference guide for those who are kicking off a new direct response marketing campaign on television. Moreover, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Ed Glynn of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, who has decades of experience advising leading direct response companies on legal and regulatory issues. With the high visibility of DRTV commercials and the increasing number of cases and regulatory investigations in this area, our easy-to-follow legal primer for marketers was developed at a particularly crucial time.

Editors:  Who do you expect would benefit most from reading "Legal Hurdles for DRTV Marketers" and perhaps more importantly, keeping it handy on their desktops as a quick reference tool for the future?

Morvay:  The ebook was designed for any executive who works for a company that has used DRTV, or is considering it for a future campaign. No matter how long you've been in the business, this ebook provides a quick refresher on what you need to know in the DRTV space. It's a mandatory guide for newcomers to the business, but it offers valuable nuggets of information for senior professionals as well.

Editors:  What are some of the key points you believe DRTV marketers will take away from this ebook?

Glynn:  There are two primary components to our ebook: the first part provides an overview of legal issues impacting advertising in general, with a focus on direct response marketing.  We provided a 30,000-foot view of the difference between the FTC and the FDA, illustrated how regulatory investigations originate, and described issues that are top-of-mind for these agencies. The latter part of the paper contains a DRTV product checklist:  49 questions that every television marketer should consider when developing or acquiring a product for a DRTV marketing campaign. It's a quick reference guide for marketers to ensure they've thought through potential legal issues that can crop up in the DR arena. From my perspective, it's a list that is critical for every DRTV marketer to read and regularly reference.

Editors:  Thank you for your time today, Ed, Irv and Steven. For anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of the ebook, "Legal Hurdles for DRTV Marketers: Don't Get Tripped Up on the Way to the Finish Line," you may do so by clicking here.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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