By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
New York—The Federal Trade Commission is asking the public for comment on whether it should make changes to the current Endorsement Guides.

The move comes as part of its systematic review of all current rules and guides.

The Endorsement Guides, formally known as the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, were first enacted in 1980 and then amended in 2009.

They provide guidance to businesses and individuals to ensure that advertising through endorsements or testimonials follows the requirements of the FTC Act.

One of the key guidelines is that when there is a connection between an endorser and a seller of an advertised product that could affect the credibility of the endorsement, the connection has to be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.

In a proposed Federal Register notice, the FTC it is seeking comment on several questions, including:
--whether the practices addressed in the guidelines are often seen in the market and whether the guide is effective at addressing them;
--if changes in technology or the economy requires changes to the guides;
--how well advertisers and endorsers are disclosing connections on social media; and
--if kids can understand disclosures and how they might affect their decisions.

The FTC started cracking down on advertising disclosure in 2016, filing complaints against Lord & Taylor and Warner Bros.

The following April, the agency sent out more than 90 letters to celebrities, athletes and other influencers, reminding them to disclose any relationships they might have with brands when they’re promoting them on social media. This marked the first time it had reached out directly to social media influencers to “educate” them.


In November 2019, it also released a guide simplifying the information and giving clear examples.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee President Tiffany Stevens said the news about the FTC seeking public comment was an “encouraging sign,” noting it indicates the FTC is prioritizing ensuring its guidelines are keeping up with the market.

For those who want to provide comment directly to the FTC, they can be submitted on Regulations.gov.

Stevens said as the JVC continues to work closely with the FTC on jewelry-related issues, they also are happy to receive comment from the trade to provide feedback to the agency on the matter in either a formal or informal manner.

She also noted that once revisions to the guidelines are released, if any, the JVC will help translate those changes for the industry.


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