Advertising and Marketing Basics

Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.

Accentuate the Positive When Using Negative Option Marketing Sharable

Everybody likes surprises – except when they arrive on the doorstep in the form of merchandise consumers didn’t order. Negative option marketing offers convenience to consumers, but only if the terms are clearly spelled out beforehand.

Ads for Business Opportunities: How To Detect Deception [PDF] [En español]

Promoters of fraudulent business opportunities run ads where their targets are likely to see them: in daily and weekly newspapers, in magazines, and on the Internet. Advertising sales staff with a well-trained eye can recognize – and reject – ads promoting bogus promotions.

Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road [PDF]

Advertising on the Internet? The rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to online marketing, too. These standards protect businesses and consumers – and help maintain the credibility of the Internet as an advertising medium.

Advertising Consumer Leases [PDF]

Does your company advertise consumer leases? This publication focuses on your legal obligations under the Consumer Leasing Act and Regulation M.

Advertising FAQ's: A Guide for Small Business [PDF]

Focusing on federal truth-in-advertising standards, this A-to-Z primer is an essential resource for businesses of any size.

Big Print. Little Print. What's the Deal? [PDF]

If the disclosure of information is necessary to prevent an ad from being deceptive, the disclosure must be clear and conspicuous. Read more about why fine print is not so fine in advertising and what you need to do to disclose the details of the deal.

Business Guide to the FTC's Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule [PDF]

Do you sell products by mail, by phone, or online? This publication discusses what the FTC's Mail Order Rule covers, offers how-to compliance advice, answers common questions, explains where to go for more information – and includes a copy of the Rule.

Businessperson's Guide to Federal Warranty Law

Do your product warranties comply with law? This guide explains the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the federal law governing warranties on consumer products.


“It’s free!” is generally music to the ears. But when companies use “free” as a deceptive come-on, they can find themselves in legal hot water.

Good Pricing Practices? Scan Do! [PDF]

Accurate pricing boosts customer satisfaction. These practical tips from the FTC and the National Conference on Weights and Measures can help you improve your pricing practices.

Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right from the Start [PDF]

Attention app developers! Basic truth-in-advertising and privacy principles apply to your product. It’s important to give the straight story about what your app can do and be transparent about your privacy practices. This start-from-scratch publication from the FTC reminds you to consider your choices from the user's perspective.

Measuring Up! Good Packaging Practices [PDF]

Companies are responsible for the accuracy of “net content statements” on packaged goods. Federal and state agencies remind businesses to make sure their claims “measure up.”

Screening Advertisements: A Guide for The Media [PDF]

Do you know the buzz words that may be a tip-off to a rip-off? By spotting – and stopping – deceptive ads before they run in your publication or on your station, your sales staff can help maintain your reputation for accuracy.

Skin Deep Sharable

When it comes to substantiation, what matters is what you promise and not the aisle where your products are sold. Even if you categorize your product as a cosmetic, you still need to substantiate objective product claims.

Strings Attached? Disclosing the Details of the Deal Sharable

Online shoppers are bound to see them: Banner ads, pop-ups, or email congratulating them on “winning” a laptop, gaming system or something else of value. Companies that promise prizes when there are deceptive strings attached can find themselves tied up in legal trouble.

Taking the “Bait” Out of Rebates Sharable

Rebates can be great – when the details are clearly disclosed up front and buyers receive their rebates on time. Does your promotion comply with the law?

Talkin' 'Bout Lead G-G-Generation Sharable

If your line is lead generation, well-established truth-in-advertising principles still apply — and depending on the nature of your business, other rules may kick in, too. Do your practices comport with the law?

The Company You Keep Sharable

Savvy marketers understand the importance of having their house in order when it comes to complying with consumer protection laws. But it can be just as important to make sure your business partners, contractors, and other affiliates follow the same high standards.

Truth in App-vertising: Is Your Company App to Date on the Law? Sharable

App developers and marketers: Take note! Established consumer protection laws — like the FTC Act, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, and general data security and privacy principles — apply across the board.

When Consumers Complain Sharable

Preventing problems is preferred, but handling complaints effectively can do a lot to boost customer satisfaction. Does your company have a system in place for responding when customers complain?

Writing Readable Warranties

Do you offer warranties on your products? This guide can help you cut through the legal-ese and meet your legal obligation to write warranties buyers can understand.