Truth In Advertising: Legal Tips

We all remember the old adage that there be “truth in advertising”, but what does that mean for you? If you are selling a product or service, are you promoting it? Promoting includes traditional mediums like newspapers and TV, but and also includes websites and social media sites. Whenever you promote your promote for commercial sales, you need to follow advertising rules. At the very least, you need to be truthful and transparent. If you claim that your product will do x (for example, help you lose weight within 3 weeks), then you better have evidence to support that claim. If your claim only applies if you follow that weight plan and exercise regularly, then you should be certain that your disclaimer (about exercise) is visible on the same page as your claim. If you pay someone to test your product and tweet about that experience, you need to disclose that in the #tweet. In short, don’t try to deceive the public, or it will come back to haunt you. Think about what words you use to describe and promote your product. Is it really the best in the world? The biggest? The strongest? What research do you have to back up your claim? Are you advertising a “free” offer? Is it truly free? Consumers should be able to rely on what you say about your product or service…whether it’s the ingredients in a food product or the results to be expected from using your service. For examples of claims frowned upon by the FTC, check out this government link: Honesty does matter!