Friday, November 13, 2009

Some advertising laws worth knowing

You should know the following laws regarding advertising to avoid damage

Misrepresentation of the product
All descriptive text and photos must give consumers an accurate representation of what they will get. If you are selling frozen ice cream bars, for instance, you can’t show a picture of five bars on the box, if the box only contains four. Nor can you touch up photos to make a product look better or bigger than it is.

No facts about the product can be misrepresented either. Two business owners learned that the hard way when they were fined $20,000 each for claiming Native-American style artwork they sold was made by Native Americans when, in fact, it wasn’t.

Unsubstantiated claims
You must be able to substantiate factual claims with proof that there is a reasonable basis for each one. A New Jersey talent agency, for instance, was fined more than $175,000 over several years for misrepresenting its ability to place children in high-paying modeling and acting jobs. The substantiation must exist before you make the claims.

The fact that someone might be able to realize the benefits you state in your ads, or that one or two individuals have achieved the advertised results won’t suffice when claims lead people to believe that the average purchaser could achieve the touted benefits.

If you make claims such as “recommended by doctors,” or “tests prove” or “leading experts say...” you must have proof that will stand up to scrutiny by experts.

You need a high level of substantiation if you are making health, nutrition, or safety claims. In such cases you need reliable scientific evidence. To provide that, you should have at least one independent double-blind study to support your claim. The study group also should be of sufficient size to provide reliable data.

Fake testimonials
If you use testimonials in your advertising, the people making the testimonial must actually use your product or service. If you pay them for their testimonial that fact has to be disclosed unless the person giving the endorsement is a well-known person or an expert.

Simulations of real situations
If you retouch before-and-after photos, such as showing someone cleaning a floor with one swipe of a mop when it really would have taken five, or use something other than what is stated to demonstrate your product, the facts must be disclosed.

Price and merchandise comparisons
If you use words like “sale,” “reduced,” “$150 value,” you must have actually offered the product at that price for a reasonable period of time.

Similarly, if you say a product you are selling is “Sold elsewhere for $30 more” you must be able to prove that the item actually has been sold at that price. Terms like “special purchase” or “inventory clearance” should be reserved for times when you actually have bought merchandise at a special purchase price or are actually clearing out your inventory.

Warranties and guarantees
You don’t have to advertise a warranty or guarantee, but if you do, you must state the terms and any limitations that apply. If you sell by mail, and will refund the purchase price if a customer is unsatisfied, but not the shipping and handling costs, your guarantee must make that clear too.



Cindy said...

haha that's so ironic. Even KFC in Pakistan gives misrepresentation of the product. Why isn't there lettuce or tomato or specail maynaise in my burger!? lol

Rabbia Nasir Amin said...

thats because there is some effect of Pakistani culture on KFC Culture too =)

Cindy said...

haha yah, so marketing strategy CAN BE MODIFIED from culture to culture. :P

Rabbia Nasir Amin said...

especially in Pakistan =D