Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 41

is a relevant and germane issue – and one that necessitated enough clarity that the Federal Trade Commission issued its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, also known as the FTC Guides in 1980. However, it is the perpetuity and effectiveness of the technique that is most fascinating to those in the industry and what makes testimonials the skilled marketer’s Rosetta Stone. The consumer testimonial prospered in the early days of print advertising, flourished when radio ruled the roost and experienced a rebirth with television advertising. The consumer testimonial has made more comebacks than Brett Favre. So, should we really be that surprised that the consumer testimonial is again wreaking havoc – from the perspective of sales effectiveness and legal uncertainty – in yet another platform of product sales? In fact, when compared to almost all previous advertising paradigms, it can be argued that the marriage of the consumer testimonial and social media will be the most prevailing of all. In characterizing the relationship between the consumer testimonial and social media, the iconic television commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the 1970s comes to mind. For those old enough to remember, the commercial showed a guy walking down the street eating a chocolate bar. Walking down another street is a girl enjoying a jar of peanut butter. They run into each other on the corner, their peanut butter and chocolate get mixed together and they learn it is a delicious combination. Similarly, as is the case with any compulsory marriage, we have watched curiously as this serendipitous collaboration of the consumer testimonial via social media has progressed from its hopeful courting phase to now having to confront those bothersome pedantic issues such as the disclosure of material connections or the typicality of the depicted product performance. In late 2009, in rode the FTC, which announced a helpful revision to its FTC Guides in order to address this new world of social media. The revised guides reflected three basic truthin-advertising principles: 1. Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading; 2. If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances, and; 3. If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed. Jeffrey Greenbaum, one of the nation’s leading practitioners of advertising law and a partner in the advertising, marketing and public relations group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC, believes, “The critical issue right now is transparency … You can’t trick consumers into thinking that they are seeing independent editorial content when what they are seeing is actually advertising. And if you are paying consumers to speak on your behalf, or if you have other material connections with endorsers that aren’t obvious, you need to make that clear.” While the notion of disclosing pertinent information in a manner that is “clear and conspicuous,” not to mention in

close proximity to the triggering claim, has always been a challenge for even the most creative marketer in traditional advertising, one of the great conundrums for marketers is ascertaining what exactly constitutes “adequate disclosure.” After all, just what is the most effective method of disclosing material information in an emerging advertising medium where the communication landscape is limited and at a premium (think: Twitter’s 140 character max). Mary Engle is the associate director for advertising practices at the FTC, and since the implementation of the guides, she has done her share of the yeoman’s work of publically explaining the applicability of the agency’s changes to concerned marketers. Engle notes, “Marketers should keep in mind that their ads should give consumers an accurate picture of what to expect with their products or services. And when making disclosures, you can’t go wrong if you present the information as though you really want consumers to get what you’re saying, not as if you’re hiding it or hoping it will go unnoticed. … Clear and conspicuous disclosures are possible in almost any medium, although some platforms may present more challenges than others.” We have seen several interesting disclosure innovations that have provided marketers who utilize social media some assistance to abide by the rules of the road. For example, CMP. LY offers technology that monitors and documents a company’s social media interactions and automatically publishes disclosures in the form of “badges” within status updates and

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Electronic Retailer - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - February 2012

Calendar of Events - Upcoming Industry Events February through May
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports - Connect, Collaborate and Discover with MyERA
FTC Forum - Where the FTC Says Facebook Went Wrong
eMarketer Research - Who is the U.S. Hispanic Market?
IMS Retail Rankings - The Top 25 Shows and Spots
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories - The Top 5 Shows and Spots and the Top 3 Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index - Index for 30, 60 and 120 Seconds
Ask the Expert - Who Says Kids’ Products Don’t Sell on DRTV?
From the Executive’s Desk - Create the Complete Package
DR Disruption
Bienvenido a Miami!
Interactive TV: Just a Click Away
What Your Consumer Says About You Matters
Guest Viewpoint - For Hispanic Vote, the Campaign is On
Guest Viewpoint - Own Your Own Online Media
DRTV - Supporting Retail: Is This the Answer?
Fulfillment - Are You Delivering a Great Customer Experience?
Teleservices - Stop Losing Thousands of Leads
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight - Highlighting This Month’s Advertisers
Bulletin Board - DG and Discovery Launch Digital Distribution System
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry - MINI Me
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Calendar of Events - Upcoming Industry Events February through May
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 9
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 10
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Industry Reports - Connect, Collaborate and Discover with MyERA
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 12
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 13
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - FTC Forum - Where the FTC Says Facebook Went Wrong
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - eMarketer Research - Who is the U.S. Hispanic Market?
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings - The Top 25 Shows and Spots
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 19
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories - The Top 5 Shows and Spots and the Top 3 Categories
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 21
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index - Index for 30, 60 and 120 Seconds
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Ask the Expert - Who Says Kids’ Products Don’t Sell on DRTV?
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - From the Executive’s Desk - Create the Complete Package
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - DR Disruption
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 29
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 30
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 31
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Bienvenido a Miami!
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 33
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 35
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Interactive TV: Just a Click Away
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 37
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 38
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 39
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - What Your Consumer Says About You Matters
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 41
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 42
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 43
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Guest Viewpoint - For Hispanic Vote, the Campaign is On
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Guest Viewpoint - Own Your Own Online Media
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 47
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 48
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - DRTV - Supporting Retail: Is This the Answer?
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Fulfillment - Are You Delivering a Great Customer Experience?
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Teleservices - Stop Losing Thousands of Leads
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 53
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Advertiser Spotlight - Highlighting This Month’s Advertisers
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - 57
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - Rick Petry - MINI Me
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - cover4
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