The FTC’s Guides for Using Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
Did you know there is a right and wrong way to use UGC according to the FTC? Granted, things are still a little fuzzy since it updated the terms this past May. The commission treats endorsements and testimonials the same way. While these aren’t crazy cases that could get you fined millions, you could still get flagged or receive small fines.
To avoid any of that, we wanted to break down the essentials of FTC endorsements and testimonials for marketers to know.
- Watch your freebies. If a consumer receives a free product as part of a marketing program and the consumer has the option of writing a review, the consumer’s review would be classified as an endorsement but treated like a partnership that required disclosure.
- Watch your UGC. If you are using multiple instances of consumer testimonials, be sure to be backing any over exaggerating claims. Consumer endorsements should be disclosed in some cases (especially on video using disclaimers like “actual customers”).
- Watch your partnerships. Advertisers and endorsers (read: influencers and creators) are subject to liability for false or unsubstantiated statements made through endorsements. So be sure to work with experienced partners that know when an ad or review steps into false advertising territory.
- Watch your credentials. We’ve all heard some disclaimer terms like “clinically proven” or “backed by health professionals.” Well, be sure that the endorser’s qualifications do in fact give the endorser the expertise to make any claims.
- Watch your language. This is a small note for the international advertisers out there, but whatever language your ad is in, your disclosure must be in the same language.
It’s not the most exciting read, but the full guides, details, and even marketing examples can be found on Title 16 CFR pt 255 on the FTC’s website.
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