Earlier today, I mentioned a new FTC rule which, rather unusually, applied to bloggers: if you endorse or recommend something in exchange for payment (or a free sample), you must disclose the fact that your review was paid for. While I tend to frown on the regulation of bloggers (and the Internet in general), this regulation struck me as reasonable.
The FTC issued another regulation — a "guideline" actually – which applies to advertisers running testimonial ads, and I really like this one:
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. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as "results not typical" – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.
So if the new weight-loss pill ad feature a woman from Bumblefuck, Kentucky who lost 50 in three weeks, look for the part of the ad (whether it is on TV, on the radio, in print, or on the web) that says "Results not typical".