FTC warns media on ads

Commission takes aim at infomercials

Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising.

In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will only go after advertisers.

“We are planning to identify those media companies that disseminate allegedly false ads,” Majoras said. “We will include the names of these companies in our press releases announcing an FTC action challenging those claims.”

Majoras lauded the industry for largely successful self-regulation on deceptive ads, but said there’s room for improvement.

Majoras’ advice: “Someone within your organization must be responsible for reviewing advertising to determine whether (it) complies with your clearance standards and, for obvious reasons, that person should be independent from the marketing department that is selling ad space.”

She said weight-loss infomercials were most notorious for false or misleading claims. In 2001, the FTC determined nearly half of all weight-loss informercials contained at least one such claim.

The agency then challenged media to “do the right thing” and not run ads making these claims. Last year, after another survey, the FTC determined only about 15% of weight-loss informercials were deceptive. But Majoras singled out media companies that apparently were ignoring self-regulatory guidelines and continuing to air the ads.

Majoras said those companies should not look to the FTC if the deceptive advertiser also turns out to be a deadbeat.

More TV

  • THE EXPANSE -- "Intransigence" Episode 309

    'The Expanse' Moves to Amazon for Season 4

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • Arrested Development Season 5 review

    TV Review: 'Arrested Development' Season 5 on Netflix

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • Showtime Executive, Gary Garfinkle.Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS©2012

    Gary Garfinkel, Co-Head of Content Acquisitions at Showtime, Dies at 55

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • KIM POSSIBLE - The cast of

    'Kim Possible' Disney Channel Movie Casts Its Dr. Drakken, Shego, Other Key Characters

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • Ted Danson Remote Controlled Podcast

    Remote Controlled: 'The Good Place' Star Ted Danson on His 'Delicious' Role

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • Josh Holloway Colony

    Josh Holloway on Season 3 of 'Colony' in Trump Era: 'It's Scary, the Parallels of This Show'

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

  • Mick Betancourt Joins Syfy's 'Deadly Class'

    Mick Betancourt Joins Syfy's 'Deadly Class' in Showrunner Switch

    Broadcasters and cablers beware: Federal Trade Commission topper Deborah Platt Majoras has threatened media companies with bad publicity if they’re even suspected of airing deceptive advertising. In a speech last week to the Electronic Retailers Assn., Majoras said false or misleading claims in informercials are increasing and cautioned media companies against thinking the FTC will […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content