A false or otherwise unlawful advertisement may not only result in poor consumer response and sales, but it may also subject the provider of the advertisement to legal and financial exposure. As such, performing an advertising clearance is advisable. An advertising clearance is essentially a vetting process whereby an advertisement is reviewed for compliance with various laws and regulations. It is typically performed by an advertising lawyer. With the explosion of online advertising, oftentimes an internet lawyer is in the best position to review new forms of online advertising, which may include social media, blogs, or websites.
Regardless, an advertising clearance should, at a minimum, include the following:
• Review of the claims made in the advertising for truth, or stated another way, a review to ensure the claims made are neither literally false or impliedly false. As a subpart to this, some language may not even be a claim but instead function as “mere puffery”
• Identify substantiation for any claim made
• Scrutinize any testimonial or endorsement (e.g. ensure compliance with FTC Part 255 Guide)
• Understand what advertising medium will be used and ensure compliance with laws specific thereto (e.g. email must comply with CAN-SPAM)
• Determine if there is any valid sweepstakes/contest or illegal lottery aspect to the advertisement, and if so, ensure compliance with both federal and state laws as well as regulatory bodies
• Ensure proper use of trademarks or service marks
• Ensure proper use of copyright material
Traverse Legal, PLC advertising attorneys can assist you with an advertising clearance in order to ensure compliance with advertising laws. Not only will we be able to tell you what may subject you to liability and advise against particular items, but oftentimes we will be able to suggest alternatives that will allow your advertisement campaign to proceed.