My colleague and friend, Andrea Levine, has been the Director of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council’s National Advertising Division (NAD) and Senior Vice President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus for the past 20 years. It’s quite a title, and tenure, and as she prepares to move on to her next challenge, I asked her to share some of her experiences and wisdom.

Twenty years ago, I appeared at NAD’s offices armed with 7 years’ experience in the NYC court system defending poor people from the consequences of “trickle down” economics, a decade on the front lines of multi-state consumer protection advocacy as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York, and a stint as Special Counsel for … Continue Reading

As mentioned, at BAA I gave a presentation on the interplay of marketing and advertising law to activate brands. Today I will share with you the final installment of this series…

What is shopper marketing?  It’s about harnessing technology and data to reach and influence consumers on their path to purchase – online to in-store.  It’s about creating a brand experience for the consumer – not just a brand or retail channel transaction.  It uses content, technology, promotion, data, social interaction and insights as tools for meaningful consumer engagement.

Shopper marketing is dependent on information and data.  But how does a brand or retailer collect and use the data? When does consumer data collection become invasive, and when do privacy … Continue Reading

Last week, leading lawyers, regulators and marketers attended the 38th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA, I gave a presentation on the interplay of marketing and advertising law to activate brands. Over the next few days, I will share with you three posts from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

Every day, in-house attorneys make risk decisions when advising clients. It would probably be helpful for them to know what is on the regulators’ minds. But how do they find out?

Think about the mindset of the regulators that may be scrutinizing your industry. Remember that Attorney Generals are political animals who will track publicity; that the “reasonable person” standard invoked by … Continue Reading

There aren’t a lot of rules on the Internet. The World Wide Web is a wild west environment where the standard rules regarding sales tax, privacy, and decorum don’t apply. All of which makes it seem like a strange place for self-regulation. And yet, that’s the mission of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, the industry body that regulates advertising not only on traditional media such as print, TV, and radio, but also online.

Given how quickly advertising has expanded on Internet sites and social media, that’s not just a tricky job—it’s a very big one. This year, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Association delivered a keynote at a summit hosted by one of ASRC’s constituent organizations (the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation … Continue Reading

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last month announced the agenda for its workshop “Putting Disclosures to the Test,” (Workshop) planned to take place on September 15 in Washington, DC.  The Workshop will focus on testing and evaluation of disclosures in both digital and traditional media.

Last summer, we noted that disclosures, especially for endorsements and testimonials,  were coming onto the FTC’s radar and would likely see heightened enforcement. Since then, the FTC has increased its scrutiny of advertising and privacy practices where it believes marketers are not adequately disclosing key details to consumers.  For example, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in July settled the FTC’s charges that it instructed paid social media influencers of the video game … Continue Reading

The marketing communications industry experienced a number of important changes in 2015. In the third edition of our Lessons Learned/Practical Advice publication, lawyers from Davis & Gilbert explore the key regulatory developments, statutory changes, and court decisions in numerous areas such as children’s advertising, entertainment, social media, trademark, and data security. To read the full publication, click here.  In addition, each article suggests steps that marketers and agencies may take to decrease risks and help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you a few articles I co-authored. I am kicking off this series with my article on green marketing that I co-authored with Davis & Gilbert Advertising, Marketing … Continue Reading

This week, leading lawyers, regulators and marketers attended the 37th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. Over the next few days, I will share with you three video clips from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

The lines between advertising agencies, digital agencies and even product development shops are blurring.  We are seeing the rise of “brand activation agencies” that use shopper technologies, experiential marketing and targeted promotions to create products and foster consumer engagements.  Just like the four innovators in the video, marketers and agencies are becoming agents of disruption.  These companies are changing the way we … Continue Reading

Recently, I co-authored the below advertising alert with Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner, Matt Smith.

On the heels of recent high-profile enforcement actions by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against the automobile industry, the New York Attorney General (NYAG) has now zeroed in on the industry as well.

Over this past summer, NY AG Eric Schneiderman settled numerous allegations of deceptive practices with more than 25 automobile dealerships throughout the state, requiring the dealerships to collectively pay over $14 million in restitution and penalties. And Schneiderman has indicated that his office intends to continue monitoring New York auto dealers and will bring more enforcement actions as necessary.

Background

In March 2015, as … Continue Reading

As you know, over the past few weeks, Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner Allison Fitzpatrick and I have been discussing the FTC’s updated answers to its FAQs. The following topics will conclude this series: online reviews, employee endorsements, and monitoring.

Online Reviews: According to the FTC, a retail website that includes customer reviews of the products and encourages honest reviews of its products, regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative, should disclose which reviews were made in connection to free products. Knowing that reviewers received the product they reviewed for free would likely affect the weight the audience gave to the reviews, even if the retailer did not intend for that to happen. In addition, reviewers could fear … Continue Reading

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently updated its answers to a series of frequently asked questions (New FAQs) about its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (Guides). The updated FAQs are further proof that endorsements and testimonials are once again on the FTC’s radar, and marketers and their agencies should expect an increase in enforcement over the upcoming months.

This summer, Allison Fitzpatrick, Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner, and I co-authored an alert on the FTC’s updated answers to FAQs about endorsement guides. Given the long-awaited guidance, I wanted to share with you its potential impact. In the next coming weeks, I will be addressing the following affected areas: Social Media, Likes, Pins, and Posts, … Continue Reading