If you’re creating any customer testimonials, you need to know about this

Talk about something that totally blindsides you – the FTC has apparently decided to start policing customer testimonials and the like. Here’s a snippet from the FTC website.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect

I guess Subway’s Jared will have to tell us that $5.00 foot long subs won’t melt the pounds off most overweight folks without a lot of additional deprivation, while Emmit Smith will have to tell us that most Just For Men users don’t end up with cheerleaders on each hip.

From where I sit as a consumer, I see a lot of benefit in this – too many advertisements tout benefits most consumers will never realize. Can’t wait to see BowFlex commercials after the December 1 effective date, or health club advertisements on New Year’s Resolution Day.

As a product marketer, the rules add a layer of legal scrutiny to a powerful marketing weapon, the customer testimonial. My quick scan of the rules make them appear relatively straightforward, but I’ll definitely study them harder before I produce a testimonial myself.

Here are some additional links worth checking out.

Response Magazine:
Dave Saunders blog: