Upcoming FTC Workshop Examines Marketing Disclosures

July 22, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a public workshop in Washington, D.C. on September 15, 2016 to examine the testing and evaluation of the disclosures that companies make to consumers to clarify advertising claims, privacy practices, and other similar information. Effective disclosures are critical in helping consumers make informed decisions in the marketplace. Advertisers use disclosures in order to prevent the major material claims in their advertising from being unfair or deceptive. The FTC is increasingly concerned that often these disclosures are ineffective. The workshop will spotlight key issues surrounding the disclosure topic.

Furthermore, the FTC will discuss the numerous guides it has issued to help businesses avoid deceptive claims, including those related to endorsements, environmental claims, fuel economy advertising, and the jewelry industry. Often these guides present options for qualifying claims to avoid deception. In developing these guides, the Commission has relied on consumer research to gauge whether specific disclosures can be used to qualify otherwise misleading claims.

Disclosures are also important in the privacy arena. The FTC asserts that too often privacy policies are long and difficult to comprehend and that care must be used to assure that privacy-related icons communicate information in a meaningful and effective manner to consumers.

ANA plans to provide comments to the workshop on both the general disclosure issue and also in regard to the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) privacy self-regulatory icon and consumer education efforts.  

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