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FTC: Weight-Loss Claims Among Inadequate Advertising Disclosures

<p>After reviewing TV and print ads, FTC sent warning letters to 60 companies, including 20 of the nation&#8217;s 100 biggest advertisers.</p>

WASHINGTON—The FTC on Tuesday said it has sent warning letters to one fifth of the nation’s largest advertisers for failing to make adequate disclosures in their television and print advertisements as part of a campaign to ensure advertisers don’t mislead consumers.

After reviewing TV and print ads, FTC sent warning letters to 60 companies, including 20 of the nation’s 100 biggest advertisers. The campaign known as “Operation Full Disclosure" concentrated on “disclosures that were in fine print or were otherwise easy to miss or hard to read, yet contained important information needed to avoid misleading consumers," FTC announced in a news release.

In long-standing guidance to companies, FTC has said disclosures in ads should appear in a font that is easy to read and not be buried. Disclosures for TV ads should be on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and comprehended, and other elements in the ads should not murky or distract from the disclosures, the agency said.

Consumers should be able to easily notice the disclosures, FTC advised companies in the warning letters.

FTC, whose enforcement efforts have included cracking down on unsubstantiated weight-loss claims, did not disclose the recipients of the warning letters. But the agency said, “Weight-loss ads featuring testimonials claiming outlier results did not adequately disclose the weight loss that consumers generally could expect to achieve."

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