The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released updated Dot Com Disclosure guidelines to fast forward to the present day and catch up with the technology consumers use more and more frequently – including smartphones, tablets, and social media. I previously gave you an overview of what the updated guidance means and how marketers need to approach the new FTC standards, and you’ve read “The Way I See It” on the updated guidelines.
I wanted to turn to an industry expert to discuss what the new FTC Dot Com Disclosure guidelines mean for advertising on various key platforms and what could be next for mobile and tech.
The Way the Industry Sees It:
I sat down with Jerry Karnick, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Verizon Wireless, to get his thoughts.
We all seem to agree that the updated guidance was a necessity, but do you think the Dot Com Disclosures will help grow advertising potential on mobile and online platforms?
I do. Advertising through online and mobile platforms is here to stay, and the new Dot Com Disclosures recognize and embrace that reality. Of equal importance, the new Dot Com Disclosures also provide advertisers with added clarity on what is required, while continuing to allow advertisers the necessary flexibility to meet those obligations. With the guidance provided by the new Dot Com Disclosures, more and more reputable advertisers will have increased comfort advertising on these platforms, especially on the small screens available in the mobile arena. At the same time those advertisers won’t have to worry that their ads, which include the disclosures necessary to ensure the ad is neither false or misleading, will be less appealing than the ads of other online or mobile advertisers that may not have otherwise included the necessary disclosures, either at all or in proximity to the main advertising message.
With smartphones and tablets, the majority of issues presented by the old Dot Com Disclosures were how to present disclosures in the new space constraints. For the mobile industry, does the new guidance meet these concerns and are there any significant new issues that are raised?
The new Dot Com Disclosures provide the necessary clarity about whether and how the traditional advertising rules will apply in the mobile space. What they don’t do – nor, of course, could they – is increase the size of the screen. The industry will continue to wrestle with space constraints. But, now that there is clarity on what is required, it will be up to all of us to find new and creative ways to design ads in ways to ensure the necessary information is communicated effectively and the overall message conveyed to consumers is not misleading.
What’s the coolest thing in your office right now?
The coolest object in my office right now is my smartphone. Its ability to keep me connected to work, family, friends, and my interests – 24/7, no matter where I am – is unparalleled and nearly unimaginable just a few years ago. While some may bemoan the “always connected” nature of our lives today, I view the capabilities as freeing rather than as shackling. For example, while in the past I may have had to stay late at the office to handle an important message that was coming through, now I can handle that same message from the bleachers at my son’s baseball game. In fact, there’s a dated nature to the question itself – it presumes that “my office” is a physical space and that “work” is a geographic location. Instead, however, smartphones and the other solutions that Verizon Wireless allows anywhere I am to be “my office” and transforms “work” into an activity rather than a location.