The Federal Trade Commission, as recently as 1980, has issued Guides designed to prevent deception of consumers due to misleading product endorsement advertising by celebrities and others. The new Guides indicate that the FTC intends to continue its recent trend offending advertisers and even endorsers liable for deceptive endorsement practices. However, a critical analysis of the Guides, in light of marketplace realities and consumer needs, raises serious question as to whether they are likely to promote accurate endorsement advertising. This comment will explore pre-1980 regulations and trace the progression of controls through the advent of the FTC Guides. The Guides will be analyzed in light of past and present case law and alternative controls will be surveyed. Recommendations concerning the Guides will be suggested. The most important of these is a change from the present narrow and restrictive interpretive rules, which lack the force of law, to more general, substantive rules, which could be strictly enforced. The prospects for their implementation, however, appear dismal due to inertia within the FTC and federal budgetary reductions proposed by the current Administration.
Whitney F. Washburn
FTC Regulation of Endorsements in Advertising: In the Consumer's Behalf?,
8 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol8/iss3/3