Talking FTC Ad Disclosures
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE (just good advice)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be hosting an event in September that is geared towards reviewing current disclosure best practices and finding more effective and simple ways to properly inform consumers.
While disclosure rule changes are historically concerning to the advertising community, I think this event, titled “Putting Disclosures to the Test”, is not only good for the consumer but also the advertiser.
Since this event is oriented around reviewing current disclosure methods to make them more effective at informing the consumer, it is highly likely these methods will be simplified. There is no doubt that in the current consumer climate ad attention is at an all-time low. Therefore, the only practical way to better inform the consumer of disclosures is to make them perfectly clear.
A good example of what their reformed methods could look like is the recent adoption of #Ad in the influencer marketing space. #Ad is great for the consumer in the sense that a consumer can understand the disclosure in almost no time at all. It is also great for the advertiser, because you can assure compliance with little resources or time.
With recent FTC enforcement rulings, such as that against Lord and Taylor for not disclosing their business relationship with influencers, it is clearly time to begin scrutinizing past disclosure rules and their relevance to modern advertising channels and consumers.
As an advertiser/brand it is crucial that we understand that FTC rules are constantly changing, and something that was compliant in the past may not meet compliance standards today.
As ad distribution channels change and evolve so to must the compliance standards advertisers and brands are held to.
One method that is almost certain to keep you out of trouble with the FTC is to be very clear with consumers Many advertisers wrongfully think that the vagueness of their ad disclosure makes it more compelling to the consumer, but that is simply not the case.
Consumers are smarter than ever and can smell an ad from a mile away. Considering this, it is important to be fully transparent with your ads while creating compelling and intriguing content.
Compelling content that is genuine, honest, and native to the platform it appears on will not be compromised after disclosing that it is an advertisement. In fact, it may be better received by consumers who feel insulted by advertising tricks.
Be creative, not tricky.