FTC wants realistic testimonials


Maybe somebody who buys your new gizmo will achieve stunning results. And maybe they won’t. And if the general expectation is that they won’t, the Federal Trade Commission is thinking about demanding that such a disclaimer is a prominent part of any advertisement or marketing message. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” is now in the Federal Register and the FTC is seeking public comment on the topic.

In a release, FTC said, “In the newly approved Federal Register notice, the FTC’s proposed revisions to the Guides address consumer endorsements, expert endorsements, endorsement by organizations, and disclosure of material connections between advertisers and endorsers. On the issue of consumer endorsements, the proposed revisions state that testimonials that do not describe typical consumer experiences should be accompanied by clear and conspicuous disclosure of the results consumers can generally expect to achieve from the advertised product or program.”

RBR/TVBR observation: We have two particular golf books in our possession. The one by Tiger Woods has had no demonstrable positive affect on our game. However, we are perfectly capable of emulating the results of the other book. Unfortunately, it is “Bad Golf My Way” by Leslie Nielsen. In all fairness to the superhuman Tiger, he didn’t advertise that his methods would transfer to our merely mortal abilities, so he would not be in danger from this latest FTC proposal.