Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers’ ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.”
Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes.
How unbelievably awesome would this be, if it actually happens? According to the proposed guidelines,
Consumer testimonials would have to be substantiated and ads would have to include generally expected results. Endorsers, not just advertisers, could be held liable for deceptive claims. “You’d have to say not only is it extreme, but how extreme is it,” the FTC’s Richard Cleland said.
Can you fucking imagine the ads? “Jane Doe wanted to lose 50 pounds, actually lost 10, then gained 15 back! CALL TODAY TO START YOUR NEW LIFE!” “Suzy Smith lost 80 pounds, which is so rare on this program it would be unethical of us to pretend you have any real prayer of doing the same thing, and five years later, she’d gained it all back and then some! DON’T YOU WANT TO BE LIKE SUZY?” “Jared Fogle lost 245 lbs. eating nothing but vegetable sandwiches, and has kept it off for 10 years because his full-time job is now being a paid spokesperson for Subway. You, too, can keep off massive amounts of weight if someone pays you loads of money to eat as little as it takes and spend all your time exercising! TRY OUR FOOTLONG STEAK ‘N’ CHEESE.”
Please feel free to add your own imaginary advertisements in comments. This is the most fun I’ve had all week.