Commercial Speech and Advertising | Christian Nossokoff | April 20, 2016

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Commercial Speech and Advertising

by Christian Nossokoff Show/Hide

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This Commercial Speech and Advertising playlist is centered around false claims and false advertising. These false claims can be made by either an individual, company, or other organization. As advertising is a form of speech, the restrictions on it raise questions of constitutionality.


In order to determine if a restriction on an advertisement is constitutional, four questions must be answered:

1. Is the activity being advertised legal and not misleading?

2. Does the government have a meaningful interest at stake?

3. Does the restriction on speech advance that interest?

4. Is the restriction the least restrictive course of action in advancing the interest?  


The governing body that handles false claims and misleading ads is the Federal Trade Commission. Among many things, the FTC aims to protect both American consumers from being deceived by businesses as well as working with foreign agencies to protect consumers of the global marketplace. If the FTC believes a false claim has been made or that consumers have been deceived, they can conduct an investigation, sue individuals or companies, and enact new rules and regulations to prevent such behavior from occurring again.


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  1. 1 Show/Hide More Blogging and Advertising
    Original Creator: Christian Nossokoff
    by Arielle Weg. When it comes to producing your own content online, the line can be thin between sharing your own thoughts and feelings as opposed to promoting a product. There are times where someone who owns a personal blog can talk about a product as a real consumer, but often they are given products for free or paid to discuss an item in a positive way in order to advertise to their followers. In this section of commercial speech and advertising, I look at the legality of discussing a product on a person blog that was either given to the blogger for free or the blogger was paid to discuss the product. I include Federal Trade Commision (FTC) documents on how to properly disclose this kind of situation on a blog for transparency, FTC documents on how to properly endorse a product on a blog, FTC response to a letter by Hyundai asked permission to reward bloggers for advertising, and the real life case of FTC vs. Lunada Biomedical inc. with a video. 
    1. 1.5 Show/Hide More FTC Statement on Hyundai and Bloggers
      FTC statement regarding a letter from Hyundai asking if they can use bloggers to advertise
    2. 1.9 Show/Hide More FTC Advertising Violation Example
      Video: “Amberen for Menopause Review” that showcases deceptive advertising. This commercial violates all of the FTC rules including deceptively introducing the endorsers as real-life users, unfairly giving authority to Carol as a registered nurse, and having her claim a “good friend” gave her the medication. This ad has no indication that this is a paid productive and the stories are not true. It is unfair and deceptive to the audience.
  2. 2 Show/Hide More FTC v. Kellogg
    Original Creator: Christian Nossokoff

    by Shayna Keith. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the U.S. government (established by the Federal Trade Commission Act). Its principle mission is to promote consumer protection and eliminate and prevent anticompetitive business practices. The FTC prevents consumers from undergoing fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and provides information to help identify, halt, and prevent them (FTC File No. 0823145, 2009).

     Kellogg Company, the world’s leading producer of cereal, agreed to settle FTC charges for falsely advertised their products as enhancing children’s cognitive abilities as well as immunity, however there was no research proving their statements.

    1. 2.2 Show/Hide More Kellogg Controversial Frosted Mini-Wheats Commercial
      Kellogg's advertised that a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal was “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%” (FTC File No. 0823145, 2009).
    2. 2.3 Show/Hide More Kellogg's Misleading Advertising for Frosted Mini-Wheats
      Kellogg's Misleading Advertising for Frosted Mini-Wheats
    3. 2.4 Show/Hide More Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Kellogg
      Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment for Kellogg
    4. 2.6 Show/Hide More Public Comments Regarding FTC v. Kellogg
      Public Comments Responded to by the FTC's Office of the Secretary
    5. 2.7 Show/Hide More FTC Commissioner Statement Kellogg 2010
      Statement of Commissioner Julie Brill and Chairman Jon Leibowitz In the Matter of Kellogg Company, FTC Docket No. C-4262. Kellogg Advertises that Rice Krispies Benefits Children's Immunity Leading to Stronger Order
    6. 2.11 Show/Hide More Kellogg's Rice Krispies Deceptive Commercial 2010
      Video: Kellogg's false advertising in Rice Krispies commercial in 2010.
    7. 2.12 Show/Hide More News Coverage on Kellogg's Rice Krispies Deceptive Commercial
      Video: Smart Trend News covers Kellogg’s false claim of Rice Krispies’ benefits on cognitive functions
  3. 3 Show/Hide More False Privacy Protection Claims
    Original Creator: Christian Nossokoff
    by Christian Nossokoff. Online privacy has been a topic of great concern since the turn of the century.  Almost every website has a privacy policy that some users may or may not know they agree to. We often click “I Accept” without knowing what we accept to, but the alternative is reading through what seems like and endless box of text, filled with formal terms and jargon. So with that said, wouldn't it be easy for companies to put things in their privacy policy that you might not be okay with because they can count on you not reading it? I take a look at the case of the FTC versus Facebook in 2011 regarding the use of third party applications. Facebook users were not made aware of the fact that Facebook could disclose their information to third party applications. Various studies about social media and privacy policies are also analyzed to show what privacy and privacy policies mean to users. 
    1. 3.5 Show/Hide More Bloomberg Law Interview on FTC v. Facebook with CIPP Professional
      Bloomberg Law Interview on FTC v. Facebook with CIPP Professional
    2. 3.6 Show/Hide More Study: Evaluation of Online Privacy Notices
      Study conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology looking at the viability and practice of privacy policies, with a total of 64 analyzed.
    3. 3.8 Show/Hide More Study: Information Revelation & Privacy in Online Social Networks
      Study conducted in 2005 at Carnegie Mellon University. This study is relevant to the FTC v Facebook 2011 case because it shows how users already willingly provided an alarming amount of personal, and even sensitive, information.
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April 20, 2016

blogging advertising commercial speech

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Christian Nossokoff

Student at American University

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