Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released new guidelines on what’s acceptable practice for businesses using testimonials and “celebrity” endorsements. You can see the summary news release here.
So why do we care? Because the FTC clearly states that results that are NOT typical, even if they use the disclaimer “results not typical” (like all those diet ads you see), are not acceptable. Per the FTC, “…advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.”
That is so cool!! What this means is that all those ads that promise you will lose 100 pounds or make $1,000,000 in 30 days can’t promise that anymore, if those results aren’t typical. This is especially importantant in the world of internet marketing, where some (not all, but some) gurus make exaggerated claims about what their product or service can do for you, and only choose those testimonials that back up the exaggerated claims.
In addition to testimonials, the new guidelines also cover endorsements. So if a blogger says that XYZ Product is the best they’ve every used, they have to disclose that they got paid by the XYZ company for that endorsement, or even got a free copy of XYZ Product or some other freebie (like a free vacation) in exchange for their endorsement. They must also disclose any “material connection” with the XYZ company. In their summary, the FTC says, “…connections that consumers would not expect.”
Yesterday, we released some testimonial videos from mastermind group participants where they talk about their experience with mastermind groups. I guess we’d better put in there that we gave them a free lunch as part of the mastermind group session, in return for their testimonial. 🙂
- FTC’s summary news release
- The full PDF of Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
- The Wall Street Journal’s article on the topic
Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing