There May Never Be Another Jared: Testimonials and Endorsements are Under Attack by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has updated its guidelines on advertising endorsements and testimonials:

“For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials,” said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices. “The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical. – via The Chicago Tribune

I wonder how many marketers out there have fabricated testimonials and endorsements? Just picking a stock photo or random spokesmodel and slapping a “results may vary” caption underneath.

Marketers I’ve spoken to, who seem to “get it” would never waste their time trying to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes with a misleading testimonial. There’s got to be more important messaging to spend your marketing dollars on. But for weight loss companies especially- this new rule could spell disaster:

Someone who can’t fit in an airline seat is not going to pick up the phone for a 10-pound weight change. – Jonathan Gelfand, general counsel for Product Partners LLC, which sells fitness programs, gear and nutritional supplements – via The Chicago Tribune.

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