Marketers beware: FTC working on news rules for


You may be able to get away with calling something recyclable or biodegradable now, but that may not remain the case once the FTC puts the finishing touches on its first overhaul of environmental marketing rules in 12 years.

Marketers of health and diet products have been required to substantially back up claims about the health benefits of their products, and it is expected that the same will be true when companies try to make claims about their environmental friendliness.

Manatt Phelps & Phillips attorney Christopher Cole told Advertising Age that he “…would expect that they’re going to require more concrete showing of environmental benefits, and insubstantial environmental harm associated with anything that wants to claim green, friendly or eco-conscious terms. To the extent it’s been undefined, the bar has been pretty low.”

According to AA, the FTC is on track to put out new guidelines “by the end of the summer,” and that they will reflect the record gathered three years worth of workshops on the topic.

RBR-TVBR observation: The best thing about this kind of advertising regulation is that it tends to be venue neutral. Broadcasters may run the ads, but they are not expected to be content cops. In most cases, if a company strays over the line of what is allowed regarding an environmental claim, resolution will likely be between the company and the FTC, with broadcasters safely on the sidelines.