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

In the last few years, Intel’s advertising has become a lot less inward-focused. For decades, the company’s “Intel Inside” campaign directed consumers’ attention to the chips that Intel puts inside electronic devices. While that campaign (with its instantly recognizable bong-bong-bong jingle) helped make the company what it is today, Intel hasn’t been content to rest on its success. This is a company with innovation in its DNA, after all.

With new CMO Steve Fund at the helm, Intel has added an outward looking element to its Intel Inside message. The company’s latest marketing push is focused outward, highlighting the shuttle launches, solar-powered car races, animated dragons, high-tech garments, and other wonders that Intel technology brings to life. The initial video … Continue Reading

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but what about video? Whoever is behind the famous aphorism never crunched the numbers on video, but you’d have to think that the words-to-video conversion rate would be very large. After all, video advertisements are known to have tremendous advantages, even over those that use pictures. Video ads are more likely to be discovered (search engines love video content), shared (consumers share video at high rates), and acted upon (according to Amazon and eBay, video ads accompanying product descriptions increases the chance of a purchase by as much as 35%) than other formats. All of which helps explain why people are watching so much video these days.

According to data gathered 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

Buying is an emotional act. Science bears this out. Functional MRI scans, in fact, show that people often rely on emotions rather than information when evaluating brands. Other studies have found that the emotions triggered by an ad influence a potential customer’s intent to buy far more than the actual content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials.

A perfect case study for this is Whirlpool’s “Every day, care” campaign. In addition to being a solid example of the power of visual storytelling, the campaign’s television ads focus on the small, everyday acts of kindness that often go unnoticed, but have remarkable impact. The spots evoke strong emotions, and maybe even a few sniffly tears. Whirlpool has also … Continue Reading

Once again, Advertising Week has come and gone. And once again, I was thrilled to be part a special event for our industry. It’s not often that you can get famous statistician Nate Silver, Olympian Lolo Jones, and musician Bootsy Collins under a single tent, but they were all there at Ad Week along with the biggest executive names adding to a vigorous exchange of ideas about the future of advertising.

I had the pleasure of kicking off the “Trust Forum” presented by OpenX.  As the program materials noted, “Advertising and trust have always had a challenging and somewhat tortured relationship.” It’s a statement that feels more true now than ever before as advertising is becoming more deeply … 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