Owlet Baby Care, Inc. advertised its “Smart Sock” baby monitor with prominent claims that the monitor offers parents “peace of mind,” and promises that babies will “be ok.” The ad message is qualified by disclaimers that the monitors are not medical devices and cannot be used to prevent or treat health conditions. The National Advertising Division (part of the Council of the Better Business Bureau), however, recently declared these disclaimers insufficient. The NAD was concerned that the advertising could be interpreted as saying the monitor could prevent SIDS or other illnesses. Continue Reading
We recently wrote about the Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s privacy-related enforcement against two mobile apps for children on our Eye on Privacy blog. But there’s more! CARU also took action based on several advertising-related violations.
For the first app, “My Talking Tom,” CARU addressed in-app advertisements to children. Under CARU’s Guidelines the “net impression” of an ad directed to children must not be misleading, must not blur the distinction between ad and game content, and must not advertise products that pose safety risks or portray inappropriate behavior. CARU identified several ads that promoted inappropriate products and services, others that did not contain adequate disclosures, and still others that contained content that appeared to be an integral part of the game, rather than ad content. CARU issued its decision on these issues, and the game operator modified the ad positioning and disclosures. CARU took no further action on these issues. Continue Reading
California Senate Bill 206, the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” was amended again last month, and is making its way through the legislature under sponsorship by Sen. Nancy Skinner-D and Sen. Steven Bradford-D. If passed, the new law would pave the way for college athletes in California to earn compensation—including a stipend or other financial incentive from the college itself—for licensing their name, image, or likeness. The law would also allow athletes to obtain legal representation in connection with their participation in college sports, all while maintaining scholarship eligibility and amateurism under the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) Division I and II eligibility criteria. Continue Reading
On November 20, 2018, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) proposed two FTC consent orders against two Georgia-based companies, Creaxion Corporation (“Creaxion”) and Inside Publications, LLC (“Inside”) and their principals concerning the promotion and advertising of Health Pro Brands, Inc.’s new FIT Organic mosquito repellant during the 2016 Zika virus outbreak and allegations that they had misrepresented paid athletes’ endorsements as independent consumer opinions and commercial advertising as independent journalistic content. The proposed FTC consent orders prohibited Creaxion and Inside from making any false representations in the future and required that they ensure all endorsers disclose all material connections going forward and monitor compliance by any endorsers. Continue Reading
With the backdrop of November midterm elections and social media executives testifying before Congress about foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. democracy, California lawmakers are working on finalizing a new bill aimed to promote transparency and accountability around political advertisements on social media platforms. The “Social Media DISCLOSE Act” (the “Act”) seeks to build upon the existing California DISCLOSE Act, established in 2017, by extending political advertisement disclosure requirements to online social media platforms. Continue Reading
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has indicated that nearly all initial coin offering (“ICO”) filings they have seen are securities offerings. Based on this expansive view, it may be more likely to find a Unicorn than an ICO that is not a securities offering. Ironically, a recent lawsuit was filed against Unikrn, a block-chain based betting platform, primarily focused on esports betting. Continue Reading
It is no secret that the world of fashion is full of surprises. On Monday, June 4, 2018, Kim Kardashian West won the Council of Fashion Designer of America (“CFDA”) first-time Influencer Award and commented: “I’m kind of shocked I’m winning a fashion award when I’m naked most of the time.” Fashion advertising and marketing rely more and more upon social media and influencers for the ability to connect with consumers in an authentic manner. As a result, fashion models and celebrity influencers are in high demand. Now, a new group of unique model influencers are taking the fashion world by storm. Yet, it is unlikely that any of these new influencers will ever win the CFDA Influencer Award. Continue Reading
Sponsorship rights are a critical component of the revenue stream for almost every major venue in the United States. Long-term sponsorship deals not only provide much of the funding for new venues to be built, but they also support the refurbishments that allow existing venues to retain tenants and attract short-term residents, such as concerts, sporting events and tournaments. Sponsorship spending in North America alone came to a staggering $23.1 billion in 2017, an increase from the 2016 figure of $22.3 billion. Most of this sponsorship cash flows to and from venues in major cities. One example out of many is Los Angeles, which is home to a multitude of venues supported by an even wider array of long-term sponsors. Los Angeles recently hosted the 2018 NBA All-Star Game and the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Western Regional Semifinals. The city is now gearing up for additional high profile events, such as the 2020 MLB All-Star Game, Super Bowl LVI and the 2028 Summer Olympics, along with related ancillary events. The Los Angeles market is currently undergoing a period of intense growth, as indicated by the construction of new, state of the art venues, such as the Ram’s stadium at Hollywood Park, the Banc of California Stadium for the LAFC, and (potentially) a new stadium for the Clippers. The abundance of venues both new and old is a clear sign that even more high-profile events will be coming to LA in the years to come. These popular events – both those already scheduled and those yet-to-be-planned – present venue owners with additional hosting opportunities, making it essential to have flexibility in existing long-term sponsorship agreements. Continue Reading
Digitally altered images of models have been a controversial advertising issue for decades. In Great Britain, the Advertising Standards Authority Ltd., which is the governing regulatory advertising body, in 2011 banned skincare advertisements featuring digitally altered images because the advertisements exaggerated the effects of the skincare and makeup products and were held to be misleading “per se.” In France, as of October 1, 2017, “it [was] mandatory to use the label ‘retouched photo’ alongside any photo used for commercial purposes where the body of a model has been modified by image-editing software to either slim or flesh out her figure” and any violation might result in a fine of up to €37,500. Continue Reading
Prop 65 is a California law that requires California consumers receive warnings regarding the presence of chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. As we reported in our Environmental Blog, new Prop 65 regulations go in to effect August 30, 2018, giving the government and opportunistic private parties new avenues to assert claims. If your products are sold in California, now is the time to evaluate whether you are in compliance with Prop 65. Don’t wait until August.