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WELCOME. Annual Meeting & Compliance Seminar. The FTC monitors testimonials and endorsements as part of its general enforcement of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

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    1. WELCOME Annual Meeting & Compliance Seminar

    2. The FTC monitors testimonials and • endorsements as part of its general • enforcement of the Federal Trade • Commission Act. • The FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising • (16 CFR Part 255), revised after almost 30 years • in 2009, are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Act.

    3. Basic truth-in-advertising principle underlying Guides: endorsements should not contain express or implied representations that would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated, if made directly by the advertiser. • In l980 there were no program-length infomercials, no Internet advertising, no word-of-mouth or viral marketing, no consumer blogs.

    4. The FTC’s Revised Guides Concerning the • Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in • Advertising, effective December 1, 2009, • address, among other things, operating • within this new reality.

    5. What is an Endorsement?

    6. “Endorsement” “Any advertising message . . . that consumers are likely to believe represents the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser, even if the views expressed by that party are identical to those of the sponsoring advertiser.”

    7. In general the revised Guides made several important changes to those that had been in effect for about 30 years:

    8. “Results not typical” no longer sufficient when a testimonial references an atypical result or best case scenario. Advertisers need to disclose what results consumers generally can expect.

    9. New standards for testimonials on the internet and in other nontraditional media. Advertisers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims posted by “sponsored” bloggers. Connections between advertiser and bloggers must be disclosed.

    10. Celebrity endorsers may be personally liable for false or unsubstantiated claims asserted in their testimonials. Celebrities must disclose their material connections to the advertiser when promoting a product in media that is not obviously a paid endorsement (i.e. talk shows, celebrity blogs).

    11. Focus of this presentation: Online Marketing Activities

    12. Addressing the new reality of online marketing activity, the new Guides compel bloggers and other “word of mouth” marketers to reveal all material connections to the advertiser that may have led them to endorse a product or service.

    13. “Material Connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers –connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed so that the consumer can give proper weight to the endorsement.

    14. FTC has informally suggested some factors to consider: • Explicit understanding • Payment or perks • Intentional promotion because of future expectation • Value of free items • Steady stream • Links to advertiser • Business relationship • Network marketing program

    15. Disclosure of Connection How do you effectively disclose the connection in emerging media?


    17. However, if there is a sponsor behind the message……according to the FTC, consumers have the right to know about the relationship between the advertiser and on-line influencer (“blogger”) so they can decide how much weight to give the blogger’s opinion.

    18. DISCLOSURES SHOULD BE: • Clear • Conspicuous • Easily viewed, not hidden deep in text • Easily understood by average consumer • In readable font size and color

    19. ADVERTISERS MUST BE PROACTIVE: • Ensure that bloggers are disclosing the relationship/arrangement with advertiser • Monitor, monitor, monitor • Be ready to cut off blogger for failing to properly disclose

    20. Using an agency or service to procure bloggers will not relieve advertiser of its obligation to insure proper disclosure by blogger of its reltionship/arrangement with advertiser.

    21. Although revised FTC guidelines now contain disclosure requirements,concern over proper disclosures are not new:

    22. TRUSTED MOM OR SELLOUT Newsweek – 7/15/09 • BLOGGERS JUST SELLING OUT • ALL OVER THE PLACE – 7/13/09 Blog • MOMMY BLOGGERS – SELLING OUT 11/15/09 Techburgh Blog

    23. Some bloggers did disclose their material connections before December 1, 2009 revised Guides.

    24. BLOG WITH INTEGRITY • By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me. • I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas. • I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

    25. I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked. • When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

    26. I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability. • I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them. (7/09)

    27. Disclosure Julie’s Journal(owner Julie Vazquez) Disclosure Policy • This policy is valid as of 29 October 2006. • This policy serves to inform that Julie Vazquez (the owner of this blog) may be compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though Julie Vazquez (the owner of this blog) may receive compensation for posts,

    28. Julie Vazquez (the owner of this blog) will always give honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely Julie Vazquez (the owner of this blog) own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party in question.

    29. Okay so enough of the legal speak, here’s the real deal. I get paid to write reviews for products, services, and websites. Sometimes it’s in the form of cold hard cash. Sometimes it’s in the form of the actual product I am writing about. But here’s the thing. I only accept these offers if it’s something I feel is worth it to me, my family, and my readers.

    30. If I get a product that I don’t like, I will not write about it. I’m honest and genuine and anything I write you can believe that it’s meaningful and comes from the heart. In other words, I won’t bullxxx my readers, so don’t ask me to!

    31. If you’d like me to write a review about your product or host a giveaway, see my About Julie page to get in touch with me. Jules REVIEW: I recently had the chance to try out the Olay Total Effects Body Wash. It was hard for me to judge this body wash because I am completely SOLD on Caress’s new line.

    32. As I’ve said before, the smell of a beauty product is my number one deciding factor on if I will use it or not, and I just wasn’t into the smell of the Olay Total Effects. It almost has a “manly” smell to it, and not feminine or pretty at all. My husband actually loves the smell…on him. HA! I do really like how it lathers, and the way it leaves my skin soft. I will have to use it more to see if it really is anti-aging as it claims to be.

    33. NYC Single Mom Reviews Disclosure • Author: NYC Single Mom | Posted at: 11:42 AM Filed Under: Disclosure | • In light of the recent FTC ruling that bloggers must provide disclosure, I thought it was a good idea to post an official disclosure for • Disclosure Currently, NYC Single Mom Reviews accepts and keep free products, services, event tickets, etc. from • companies and organizations for review purposes.

    34. That said, I have and will provide my honest opinion, findings, beliefs, or experiences about products that are provided to me. In providing a review, I have tried to include a personal perspective or relevance to my life as it relates to the product. That is why, there some products that I will not review (e.g. baby products) as my daughter is older and it's hard to provide a credible voice.

    35. All of the reviews so far have been positive as I have yet to be provided a product that I did not like. If I do receive a product that I do not like or does not live up to my expectations, I will provide the company with a draft and allow them the opportunity to run or not allow the review.Currently, the site does not have direct paid advertisers/sponsors meaning that companies do not pay me directly. I do currently have affiliates advertisers (e.g. Amazon) on the site.

    36. I am in the process of soliciting paid advertisers. In choosing advertisers, it is based on products I think my readers are interested in and are of the highest quality and relevance to your daily life…

    37. Three Days To Softer Lips With Neosporin • Ohio winters are brutal on skin and hair. My skin is always dry and flaky in the winter, and my hair carries enough static to jump start a car battery. But my lips show the worst of it. They're always dry, flaky, and when the temperatures really plummet, they crack and bleed.

    38. Mom Central offered me the chance to take the Neosporin Three-Day Challenge, trying both the Neosporin Daily Hydration Therapy lip balm, and the Overnight Renewal Therapy balm. Seeing how no amount of lip balm has ever given me totally smooth lips in the winter, I was skeptical but willing to try it….

    39. Overall, I think Neosporin does deliver on its promise of visibly healthier lips in three days. I prefer the overnight renewal therapy to the daily hydration therapy, but your experience may vary. if you suffer from chronic dry lips, especially in the winter…

    40. Full disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Neosporin and received a sample of the Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy and the Lip Health Daily Hydration Therapy to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate to All opinions are my own and should not be taken as medical advice. 

    41. For 45 years, Hess Toy Truck has introduced a classic collectible vehicle every year for the holiday season. Until receiving this 2009 Hess Race and Racer, as a review product I was unaware of the tradition, but as soon as my friends and neighbors saw Kyle playing with this spiffy Hess Race Car at his birthday party, they knew just what a special toy he had in his hands.

    42. My next door neighbor says her husband has been collecting the annual Hess Toy Truck every Christmas. For the 1st time since 1993, Hess Toy Truck is introducing a Race Car for 2009. For $25 with batteries included, the value of this car is incredible…. Classy Mommy Approved!


    44. Disclosures in microblogs, i.e. twitter are challenging because of the 140 character limit. • Twitter messages must be concise and impactful. • Lengthy disclosures waste twitter space.

    45. WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.) recommends including a hash tag notation in the tweet to disclose relationship: • -#spon(sponsored) • -#paid (paid) • -#samp (sample)

    46. WOMMA also recommends creating a link to the disclosure and relationship statement in the profile.