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Companies’ responsibilities involving truthful advertising

Advertising is a vital part of business for businesses in Atlanta and elsewhere. Without ads on television, radio, the Internet and other venues, companies would have a more difficult time reaching potential customers. However, businesses also have a responsibility to make sure their advertising is truthful, accurate and not misleading.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it is against federal law for a business to market its products or services in a false, misleading or confusing way. Products such as technological or medical equipment, dietary supplements, food, alcohol and over-the-counter medications can particularly cause harm if they are advertised in such a way. The FTC requires advertising to be truthful and scientifically proven when necessary.

A well-publicized example is a recent lawsuit against the energy drink company Red Bull. According to Business Insider, the company’s advertising claimed that Red Bull “gives you wings” and improved customers’ reaction speed and concentration. Those opposing the claims said that there was no evidence the caffeinated drink provided such benefits, let alone gave customers wings. In another case, a false advertising suit was brought against the Dannon company for its yogurt product Activia. The advertising campaign claimed the yogurt had nutritional benefits superior to other yogurt brands, although a judge ruled that this had not been proven.

Business owners need to be especially cautious that their advertising claims and slogans do not promote false or misleading slogans. This not only protects consumers’ health and financial interests, but helps to protect a company from lawsuits.

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