The Social Media Law Blog is a forum for lawyers, compliance
personnel, human resources managers, and other professionals who
are struggling with the legal implications of social media across a
broad variety of topics. Working professionals and Bloomberg BNA
editors may share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues
to build a community of knowledge on this rapidly evolving topic.
The ideas presented here are those of individuals, and Bloomberg
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the communications between group members.
Friday, August 3, 2012
by Michael Loatman
A prospective dieter might be pretty
excited to hear on a television commercial or print ad that "Christine H. lost 223 lbs. on Nutrisystem," but deflated when the
fine print explains that result is not typical.
That disclosure–required by the Federal Trade Commission's Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising–is necessary even
when using emerging social networking platforms, according to a
June 29 case report from the National Advertising Division (NAD) of
the Council of Better Business Bureaus that dealt with Nutrisystem
Inc.'s "Real Customers. Real Success" Pinterest board.
Section 255.2(b) of the FTC's
guidelines requires that disclosures be placed "clearly and
conspicuously" when an endorser's experience with a product is not
"representative of what consumers will generally achieve."
The NAD contacted Nutrisystem to
note that it had failed to provide the disclosures on its Pinterest
Nutrisystem agreed. Now, each
dieter's "pin" includes the explanation: "Results not typical. On
Nutrisystem®, you can expect to lose at least 1-2 lbs per week.
Individuals are remunerated. Weight lost on prior Nutrisystem®
Allison Fitzpatrick, a partner with
Davis & Gilbert LLP's New York office, told BNA Aug. 3 that
companies have routinely misunderstood their legal requirements on
social media platforms. "When it comes to Pinterest and social
media in general, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding
that the same advertising laws that apply to other media do not
apply to Pinterest and other social networking sites. That is not
the case, as the advertising laws apply to all claims regardless of
Copyright 2012, The Bureau of
National Affairs, Inc.
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