Deception in Marketing
Nov 13, 2019

LEAD STORY

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a new ad disclosure guide for influencers saying rules are needed to protect consumers from deceptive ads.  The “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” outlines when and how influencers should disclose their partnerships with brands.  This comes just weeks after the FTC settled cases on fake reviews and fake influencer metrics.

 

MISSING LINK

The FTC stated that companies partnering with influencers are responsible for informing the influencers of the guidelines.  Influencers need to disclose if they have any financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand.  In the new influencer guide, the FTC notes that influencers do not have to be paid in order to reveal a partnership with a brand.  It counts if the influencers are receiving anything of value, including perks, free or discounted products.  In the settled case of fake reviews, employees of a cosmetics company were posting reviews of products without disclosing they were company employees. 

 

REAL STEEL

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer filed by the families of Sandy Hook victims to proceed – the basis of the lawsuit is marketing practices.  In most cases, a 2005 federal law, named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, protects gun manufacturers from liability when their guns are used in crimes.  The majority of the high court dismissed most of the lawsuit’s allegations, but allowed the wrongful marketing claim to proceed.

 

THE FRONT RUNNER

A new bill in the House is pushing back on misleading packaging and creative names for alternative protein products (a.k.a. not beef).  The Real MEAT Act would require all plant-based beef to be labeled “imitation” before or after the name of the food on the front of the package.  The bill would establish a federal definition of beef that applies to food labels.  Sponsors of the bill state it’s about safety and transparency so consumers are not duped or tricked.  (A shout out to the grill master, Johnny, who makes great cheeseburgers for me and Beyond Burgers for my vegan colleague.)

 

DACA

SUPREME COURT

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The program shields undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation.  The current administration sought to end the program in 2017 but lower federal courts have allowed renewals to continue as lawsuits moved through the courts.

 

700,000

There are nearly 700,000 Dreamers (DACA beneficiaries) in the United States.  Nearly three dozen legal briefs have been submitted supporting DACA representing big business, education, religious institutions, labor unions, law enforcement, and national security.  The economic loss of removing Dreamers would entail a gross domestic product loss of up to $460.3 billion, including a loss of $90 billion in tax revenues, over the next decade.  The Supreme Court is not expected to rule until June 2020.

 

Making Our Way Around the Country

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that a new federal grant program will allot $10 million for dams in 26 states.  The grants will pay for preliminary steps such as risk assessments and engineering designs, not the actual repairs.  State or local entities are providing a 35% match to the grants.  The Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program was authorized by a 2016 federal law to supply $445 million over 10 years to repair, improve, or remove dams.  However, Congress didn’t fund the program in 2017 or 2018, and only funded $10 million of the $25 million authorized for 2019. 

 

CALIFORNIA

The prevalence of opioids in California workers’ compensation loss-time claims has dropped 51% over the past decade, reducing both average benefit payments and average days away from work on those claims, according to a new study by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI).  The study states that 10-year claim costs on 2010 through 2017 claims systemwide are projected to decline by an estimated $6.5 billion.  The White House recently released their federal roadmap to “Stem the Opioid Crisis” in America, focusing primarily on research goals.  Every day, more than 130 people die in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids.

 

WILDFIRES

As the Midwest is dealing with record-breaking lows (yes, it was 6 degrees this morning), Australia is dealing with some of the worst wildfires the country has seen in decades.  More than a million hectares of bushfire are burning in New South Wales and into Sydney’s suburbs.  We’re thinking of everyone affected by these wildfires and praying for their safety.   

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