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Major Advertising Associations Enlist Davis & Gilbert LLP To Draft Comments For FTC Endorsement Guides Review

NEW YORK, June 19, 2007 — Advertisers, state regulators and individual consumers filed comments in response to the FTC’s request for public comments regarding its “Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.  Davis & Gilbert partner Ron Urbach and associates Allison Fitzpatrick and Alison Winter drafted comments on behalf of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF).

Last January, the FTC requested public comments on whether changes to their Guides were necessary.

Both the AAAA and the AAF are in strong opposition to any changes to the Guides and are firm in their belief that the “Guides provide substantial benefits to advertisers and consumers and are effective in ensuring the truth and accuracy of endorsements and testimonials without imposing unnecessary burdens on advertisers.”  They argue that any changes to the Guides may be impractical and even impossible to implement. 

They also tout the strength of the existing regulatory and self-regulatory framework in enforcing and promoting the principles of the Guides (For example, section 5 of the FTC Act, which gives the FTC the authority to challenge any false or unsupported advertising claims, has proven to be quite effective).

In terms of whether a “generally accepted performance” disclosure (i.e., the average or typical response) of an advertised product is necessary whenever a consumer testimonial is not generally representative of what consumers can expect from the product, the AAAA and the AAF feel that a change would “likely impose unnecessary and impractical burdens on advertisers” and result in advertisers being unable to use this valuable advertising technique.

The FTC will evaluate the comments to determine whether changes to the Guides are warranted.  D&G will continue to keep you apprised of any developments with respect to the FTC Guides. 

A link to the AAAA and AAF filing (among others) can be found here:


About AAAA

As the leading trade association representing the advertising industry in the United States, the AAAA has considerable experience and unique insight regarding endorsements and testimonials in advertising. Founded in 1917, its membership generates approximately 80 percent of the total advertising volume placed by agencies nationwide. The mission of the AAAA is to improve the advertising agency industry in the United States by fostering professional development, studying the way advertising affects our society and by encouraging business standards that help achieve desirable civic and social goals.

About AAF

The American Advertising Federation ("AAF"), the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals, similarly offers a valuable and historical perspective with respect to consumer endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country. The AAF's mission is to protect and promote the well-being of advertising through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters.

About Davis & Gilbert LLP

Since the days when Sen. William Benton (the founder of Benton & Bowles) and his client, a major packaged goods company, asked Davis & Gilbert to structure the deal for the first radio soap opera, Davis & Gilbert has been synonymous with marketing communications and business law. Today the firm serves as advertising, regulatory and intellectual property counsel to many major corporations, including some of the world's leading brands.  Davis & Gilbert counts the largest agency holding companies among its clients and provides services on a worldwide basis. The firm holds the preeminent position in this dynamic segment, handling virtually every legal requirement -- from corporate governance, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, employment practices and executive benefits and compensation -- to new media, real estate, taxation, estate planning and more.