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.
The Federal Trade Commission recently released a Staff Report regarding consumer recognition of native and search advertising entitled “Blurred Lines”, summarizing its findings from its self-styled “exploratory research”. Unsurprisingly, the FTC concluded that the use of disclosures consistent with prior FTC guidance increased the likelihood that consumers would recognize online ads as ads. Continue Reading
The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program recently warned that it will require interest-based video ads to provide transparency and control to viewers by April 1, 2018.
The Accountability Program, a service of the Better Business Bureau that regulates online behavioral advertising, has previously enforced the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory principles for interest-based advertising (DAA Principles) with respect to behavioral advertising across websites, mobile apps and across multiple devices associated with the same person, but it has refrained from enforcing the principles with respect to online video ads to allow the video ad marketplace to innovate and mature. Due to the exponential growth of online video ad spend, the Accountability Program says that the time is now right to set a date for enforcement. Continue Reading
On December 12, 2017, the FTC hosted a workshop to discuss informational injuries that consumers may suffer when their personal information is misused. Discussion topics included the types of informational injuries consumers suffer and business and consumer perspectives about costs, benefits and risks of collecting information. Continue Reading