Successful businesses depend on getting the word out. Small business or large umbrella corporations all fall subject to business laws and if you don’t know them, you could pay big time. When it comes to advertising, there are do’s and don’ts that protect you and can actually make you more successful.
The Federal Trade Commission
The FTC is a federal government agency that oversees all things business. Their job is to protect consumers, but also promote free market competition. While they do not write the laws, they have a big impact on how legislation gets written on how you can and can’t advertise your product or service. They are also empowered to enforce and create statutes and rules which makes them the final say when it comes to how you can advertise your business. Basically, they are the rule maker and enforcer and here are some of the major advertising laws you must be aware of.
This regulation ensures businesses are practicing non-deceptive means to promote their product. Under this rule, any claims must be supported by evidence. And that evidence can’t be just any sort of data; it must be evidence from a reputable source qualified to conduct the study and interpret its results. And the product must meet the claims it boasts.
This law also looks at what your ad doesn’t say. Leaving out pertinent information is deceptive and is in violation of the truth-in-advertising rule.
If your company is found to be in violation, there are a number of ways the FTC may go about imposing consequences. Your product or service will be pulled from the market and you must stop operations until you are in compliance or pay hefty fines for each day you remain in violation. This may also include civil charges that result in restitution and litigation, especially if a consumer has been injured as a result of your product. All of your ads must be pulled in whatever form they took and you will need to alter them to ensure compliance.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
The FTC does not screen ads before they get published. It is up to marketers and ultimately business owners to ensure they are practicing truthful advertising. And it isn’t just how you market your product or service. There are many advertising laws that set rules and regulations on how you market to children, how you hold sweepstakes and much more.