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Top 5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Advertising Content

Whether you are advertising for a product or a service, there are general pitfalls to avoid when creating your advertising content. Legally speaking, there are many things to steer clear of...but here are the top 5 you should remember.

Don’t Make a Health Claim

Naturally, this does not apply to every service or product you will be marketing for, but if you are working for any type of cooperation in the health or wellness industry you are going to want to make sure you choose your words carefully. Stating that a vitamin supplement will cause weight loss or saying that eating a yogurt will regulate you can only be done if they are actually studied and can dop those things. The FTC in partnership with the FDA closely monitors these health claims in efforts to protect consumers. You can however say that your product will support a faster metabolism or increase digestive abilities, just make sure you don't take it too far by making specific claims that cannot be supported by facts.

False or Misleading Info is Never Allowed

Similar to the health claim, when creating advertising content do not make a false or misleading statement. There are both State and federal laws that make deceptive claims illegal. You can absolutely say “world's best cup of coffee” but you can not digitally enhance photos or demonstrations. Sometimes false or misleading advertising is hard to recognize and can appear to a consumer to be real. You will want to stay away from comparison inconsistencies, doctored photos or illustrations, unsubstantial claims, and price deception. Learn more about how the FTC defines false advertising.

Remaining Truthful is the Golden Rule

Thinking of creative ways to engage your audience is hard. One easy way to grab attention is by bashing your competitor, but that's not the way to go. Producing defamatory content can actually get you and your company in hot water legally. Someone could consider your ad campaign defamatory to their reputation, meaning that false statements of fact exposed a person to hatred, ridicule, or contempt, causing him or her to be shunned, or injuring their business or trade and they will sue you for libel and or defamation. Now, if the produced content is vague and broad cannot be a provable fact, they you may be ok. The Golden rule is to remain truthful. In all, it’s best to simply toot your own horn and refrain from criticizing your competitor.

Be Careful When Making a Direct Comparison

Watch out for trademark infringement claims !! Though Virginia state pharmacy board v. Virginia citizens consumer council came to the conclusion that consumers have the right to gain information from advertising, if you make an ad comparing your product or service to theirs be very careful. Under U.S. law, as long as you use a competitor's trademark in an accurate manner with non-deceptive attributes, comparative advertising is legal. Watch out for competitors' trademarks though. Trademark infringement occurs when advertising content uses the likeness of another good that would cause confusion or deception between the goods. The Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 1995 protects notable trademarks so that they cannot be diluted. Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and do a trademark search to be sure.

Remember your Honor Code

The last and final pitfall to avoid when advertising you probably already know. Likely, when you were growing up in the school system you were asked to sign an Honor Code stating that you would be original and truthful in all of your academia and cite your sources accordingly. Essentially, when you signed this you said you weren't going to copy somonelses work. The same thing applies when you are advertising. To make sure you avoid getting sued for copyrighting, know that content created after 1978 is copyrighted by the author for the length of their life plus seventy years after. This is all thanks to the Copyright Act of 1976. This protects everything from your instagram posts to brochures and yard signs that you may create as long as they exhibit original intellectual effort in conception, composition, and arrangement.



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