It’s Not Just For Kids - FTC Takes Issue with Search Terms and Testimonials

The FTC started 2015 by showing its continued attention to advertising concerning kids and testimonial issues, as well as an advertiser’s purchase of search terms. In a recent case brought against a manufacturer of children’s supplements, the FTC had concerns about its advertising claims, use of testimonials, and lack of disclosures, as well as its marketing practices outside of the advertising itself.  The FTC challenged the lofty product claims about the supplements’ effect on child development (for example, that they are proven to support normal and healthy speech development). The FTC also took issue with the advertiser’s reliance on testimonials to substantiate efficacy claims and its failure to disclose that some parents received free supplements from the advertiser. But the FTC’s scrutiny didn’t end with the claims and disclosures in the advertising itself. The FTC alleged that the advertiser's purchase of search terms related to childhood disorder treatments was problematic. The advertiser had purchased the terms so that its ads would appear if a parent searched for solutions to their child’s issues. If your company is giving away product or services and then soliciting feedback, relying on testimonials as substantiation, or purchasing search terms that may imply a claim about its product or service, be sure to think carefully through the issues involved and consult with legal counsel.