Monday, March 5, 2012

Deceptive Advertising

Embedded below is the iconic "Morning in America" ad from President Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign.  The ad, often held up as an exemplar of positive campaign advertising, proclaims that America is "prouder, stronger, better," than it was prior to Reagan's election.  In the business realm, those terms would be referred to as "puffery."  But the ad also makes a number of factual statements; inflation is below a certain rate, so many couples will marry, so many people will buy homes, etc. Were these facts accurate? From the standpoint of the law, it doesn't matter.  As political speech, truth and falsity may be neither determined nor regulated by the government. What is "true" or not in the political realm will be sorted out in Justice Holmes' "marketplace of ideas." Or, by reference to

In business, however, commercial speech enjoys no such latitude. False and/or deceptive advertising may be regulated, censored, banned, and may lead to penalties. Embedded below is an Activia ad that subjected Dannon to this complaint by the FTC resulting ultimately in a $21 million settlement. Writing that check probably helped relieve that "bloated feeling" in Dannon's bank account.

No comments:

Post a Comment