Key Takeaways | “Advertising Claim Substantiation: Challenging Competitor Claims and Substantiating your Own,” from the 2023 ANA Masters of Advertising Law Conference

Key Takeaways | “Advertising Claim Substantiation: Challenging Competitor Claims and Substantiating your Own,” from the 2023 ANA Masters of Advertising Law Conference

Barry M. Benjamin, managing associate of the New York workplace and chair of Kilpatrick’s Advertising and Marketing group, was honored to average a panel at the ANA’s 2023 Masters of Advertising Law Conference, titled Advertising Claim Substantiation: Challenging Competitor Claims and Substantiating Your Own. As the title signifies, the session offered an outline of the content material, terminology, testing, and course of required to substantiate promoting claims and problem competitor claims. Takeaways from the program embody: 

Substantiation is Required for Objective Claims, But Not Puffery. Substantiation is required for all affordable interpretations of promoting claims, whether or not categorical or implied. However, claims which might be mere puffery, relatively than an goal declare, aren’t topic to problem. Puffery is exaggeration or hyperbole, and just isn’t topic to actual proof or substantiation, as a result of these statements aren’t seen as one thing affordable shoppers would perceive as an goal assertion of reality succesful of being relied upon. 
Express or Implied? Within any commercial, claims may be each categorical or implied, and even categorical by needed implication. While categorical claims immediately state a proposition, an implied declare conveys the declare implicitly. Remember too, that photographs and not simply phrases can convey an categorical or an implied declare. All claims conveyed to the shopper, whether or not categorical or implied, needs to be recognized and substantiated. Do not assume that humor avoids the declare substantiation requirement. Context is necessary, and whereas humor could also be disarming, it doesn’t justify stretching the fact.
A Reasonable Basis and Amount of Evidence. Claim substantiation is rooted in the idea of having an inexpensive foundation for claims, at the time the declare is made. What proof and degree of substantiation constitutes a “affordable foundation” is at all times the topic of debate, and subsequently, dispute. The nature of the declare itself drives what kind of substantiation – the kind and degree of proof or proof – is in the end needed, and thus substantiation can take many types. The most elementary authorized requirement is to have dependable, goal, unbiased proof of the fact of the declare. Factors to contemplate embody (a) the kind of product, (b) the kind of declare, (c) the profit to the shopper from a truthful declare, (d) the ease of creating substantiation, (e) the hurt or penalties of a false declare, and (f) the quantity of substantiation that consultants in the trade consider is affordable underneath the circumstances.
Influencer Claims Require the Same Level of Substantiation. With the growth of social media and the introduction of new digital platforms, manufacturers want to join with shoppers in quick, real-time, customized methods. Brands have gravitated in direction of and embraced the alternative to take part in influencer advertising and marketing by way of these totally different social media platforms. Yet it should be remembered that branded influencer claims, posted to advertise an advertiser’s services or products, requires the identical degree of substantiation as if the advertiser itself was making the declare. Moreover, each advertisers and endorsers are topic to legal responsibility for false or unsubstantiated statements made by way of endorsements, or for failing to reveal materials connections between themselves and their endorsers. 
Conduct Provably Reliable Tests. When conducting testing, guarantee that the check is legitimate and dependable. What does that imply? Well, Unless the declare specifies in any other case, assessments needs to be carried out on the precise merchandise in the market underneath typical situations of use and/or underneath directed situations of use. Tests on previous merchandise with outdated formulations won’t suffice. Tests on product elements versus on the product itself will likely be carefully scrutinized and will probably be inadequate until claims are particularly restricted to be solely about the elements. The superb is an goal, impartial check carried out by certified consultants in the related discipline, however, in-house assessments may be goal and dependable if carried out with transparency and underneath situations designed to make sure their objectivity. Note you might have to PROVE this in court docket, so take care in establishing the testing. The assessments should even be “properly designed,” which means methodologies accepted by professionals in the related discipline utilizing established (and ideally revealed or no less than broadly identified) protocols. Protocols needs to be clearly acknowledged and adopted rigorously and professionally, with documentation obtainable to display the rigor. Make positive that the pattern measurement is sufficiently giant for statistical evaluation and conclusions based mostly upon a 95% confidence degree. Of course, embody safeguards towards bias. The so-called “gold-standard” is a well-controlled, double-blind examine.

Counsel to advertisers which make claims about their very own merchandise or evaluating their merchandise with opponents would do properly to familiarize themselves with the right way to conduct acceptable declare substantiation testing. While declare substantiation is a bedrock precept of promoting regulation, shoppers consistently ask attorneys “what’s sufficient substantiation?” Advertising attorneys must know the right way to analyze and check their very own shoppers’ claims, in addition to opponents’ claims when the enterprise staff asserts that they’re false.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Amanda