This article was originally published on Food Navigator on January 13, 2021.

If your company sells any vanilla-flavored food or beverage product, then you are probably aware of the innumerable class action cases that have been filed over the last 18 months attacking these products – 67 cases by our count.  Here, we trace the history of this litigation and the outcomes achieved to date.
Continue Reading The Scoop on All that Vanilla Flavor False Advertising Litigation

This article was originally posted in Food Manufacturing on January 6, 2021.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of putative class actions targeting the food and beverage industry increased in 2020 and show no signs of slowing down in 2021. The number of class actions filed against beverage companies in New York increased while the number of cases filed in California decreased. While the Northern District of California, which had become known as the “food court” remained a popular jurisdiction for these suits, filings in New York outpaced those in California. The factual basis of the claims also continues to evolve. Early cases challenged the description of food and beverages as “all natural” when the products contained additives allegedly rendering the “all natural” representation false and misleading.
Continue Reading Food & Beverage False Advertising and Labeling Class Actions: What You Need to Know for 2021

Brands and influencers could unknowingly be violating the FTC’s endorsement rules by using TikTok to promote paid posts and sponsored content without including the necessary disclosures. TikTok offers native direct download and social sharing tools that enable users to share TikTok videos on other social media platforms without the caption and hashtags from the original video description, which may include disclosures that were included as required by the FTC to identify paid advertising.
Continue Reading Native TikTok Tools May Create Liability for Brands and Influencers

In April 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) wrote to Florida-based Teami LLC (“Teami”), a Florida-based producer of Teami tea and skincare products, reminding it of the requirement set forth in the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, that any material connections, including compensation, between advertisers and internet end-users need to be disclosed “clearly and conspicuously” to consumers.  The letter noted that endorsers should use unambiguous language and consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily without having to look for it; and that because consumers viewing posts in their Instagram feeds typically see only the first few lines of a larger post unless they click “more,” endorsers should decide any material connection above the name look.[1]
Continue Reading FTC Cracks Down On Deceptive Social Media Campaign By Teami LLC

As COVID-19 lockdowns continue to restrict in-person production, advertisers are increasingly turning to digital technologies to produce new creative assets. Recently, there has been increased interest in using “deepfake” technologies to repurpose archival footage.  A “deepfake” is essentially a video or audio that has been manipulated in a way that is undetectable to people viewing or listening, resulting in a piece of media that appears authentic.
Continue Reading “Deepfake” Technology: Very Real Marketing Value … and Risks

Enter for a chance to win!  Advertising lawyers are forever reminding their clients to be clear that when a promotion is a sweepstakes, messaging needs to be clear that it is a random drawing and not a giveaway.  Recently, fashion brand Draper James reminded us all why that distinction is so important.
Continue Reading Sweepstakes or Giveaway? Make Sure Your Advertising Is Clear!

Around 311 million people in the United States—roughly nine out of ten Americans—are under instructions to “Stay Home!”

These captive audiences have resulted in a 17% increase in TV viewership across all demographics.  Indeed, adults aged 18-34—a demographic that has been increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach on ad-supported television—spent 83 million more hours watching TV during the first week of the lockdown as compared to the last week in February.
Continue Reading How the COVID-19 Lockdown will Disrupt the Upfront TV Ad Market

On Wednesday, amid growing concern over the spread of  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19” or “coronavirus”), the Italian government announced that all sporting events in Italy will resume.  The catch?  They will all take place behind closed doors—no spectators will be allowed to attend for at least the next month.

Italy, as the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, previously undertook drastic measures to slow the virus’ spread—closing all schools in the country, cancelling sporting events, and instituting bans on other public gatherings across the country.

While the epidemic has not yet reached similar proportions in the US, the virus’ spread has also not shown any sign of slowing down.  Could similar measures be taken in the US?  If so, what does this mean for event organizers and brand sponsors?

Brands pay big bucks—in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars—to sponsor high profile sporting, entertainment, and cultural events. What are the repercussions if event organizers are forced to cancel sponsored events because of the coronavirus outbreak?  Does the analysis change if the events go on as scheduled, but spectators are banned from attending?

force majeure; CVOID 19; Coronavirus
Continue Reading Coronavirus: Are Spectator Bans the Worst Case Scenario for Brand Sponsors?

With the continuing spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19” or “coronavirus”), retailers are sure to face a number of issues that they can and should prepare for. The primary issues facing retailers will likely be supply chain issues, covered here (The Impact of Coronavirus on Supply Chain), and employment issues, covered here (What Employers Need to Know to Prepare for Coronavirus). This post addresses certain pricing and advertising issues that may also arise as a result of the spread of coronavirus.
Continue Reading Coronavirus And The Retail Industry: Pricing and Advertising Issues