Advertising, Promotions, Sweepstakes Law
Our goal at Verna Law is to enhance your advertising and promotional marketing efforts while minimizing the risk of competitor challenges and regulatory investigations relating to allegations of deceptive advertising. Should a problem arise, we are effective legal advocates who will fight to protect your interests in advertising, regulatory and intellectual property litigation. Ask us about how we can help your company with:
- Advertising law and advertising clearance,
- Prize promotion marketing with sweepstakes, contests, and promotions,
- Direct marketing including direct mail, infomercials, e-mail and mobile devices,
- Digital marketing, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, social media, and
- Telemarketing campaigns.
Advertising Law Language is Constantly Changing
Commercial speech enjoys First Amendment protection; but it’s not the same as the protection enjoyed by political speech, religious speech, artistic expression, opinion, etc. Commercial speech protection exists only if it involves legal activity, and it is “truthful and not misleading.” But, the what it means to be “truthful and not misleading” has changed and, today it is heavily regulated on federal, state, and even local levels.
Not long ago, a business could rely upon its integrity to produce advertising and promotions that complied with the law. That is no longer the case. Federal and state agency employees, and many legislators, often have a dim view of marketing and promotional methods. Consequently, there are many thorny and convoluted federal and state statutes and regulations impacting the creation, production, implementation and placement of all commercial messages and promotions. Worse, they’re often inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Advertising Language is Regulated
What does this mean to businesses operating in the United States? Because every industry is regulated, its advertising and promotions are affected not only by general advertising rules, but by the many laws and regulations adopted for specific industries. All advertising and promotions, irrespective of media, should, therefore, be reviewed before dissemination to the public to ensure they conform to a legal environment that can trip up anyone.
Some of these laws and regulations are enforced by government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Food and Drug Administration, state Attorneys General, and even local District Attorneys. Others are privately enforced by competitors, actors, artists, etc., when issues of intellectual property, privacy, publicity, and labor union collective bargaining agreements are triggered. And aggressive, so-called “consumer protection” advocates and class action attorneys must also be taken into account, especially when state laws enable advertising and promotion methods to be challenged in court.
The media landscape has changed business and communications. When advertising and promotion involve e-commerce, the same industry and advertising laws will still apply, but an additional set of rules will affect communications and business transactions that stem from the Internet and use of electronic devices. Broadcast and print media don’t come with things like Terms of Service or Privacy Policies; but Internet and digital communications and transactions do, and the age of the potential user needs to be taken into account even more than it does in other media.
Don’t be scared! When you know what affects your playing field, you’re ahead of the game. We aren’t lawyers who just kill a creative idea before it is expressed. Instead, we provide practical, focused advice about the laws that affect business communications and interactions with the public in general, B2B, B2C, and even 1-on-1. We then review advertising and promotions of established brands as well as new products and services.
What Can Verna Law Do?
Our aim is to help control the risks of challenge, and demonstrate how businesses can respond if and when a challenge happens.
Our advertising review includes analysis of claim substantiation, as well as assisting in its design and implementation. We can also design and analyze quantitative and qualitative communications research. We have experience in drafting sweepstakes and contest rules, and advising clients in implementing other promotional vehicles such as rebates, gift cards, coupons, CRM events, and loyalty programs.