Advocacy Groups Ask FTC to Investigate Six Brands' Kid
According to Adweek, the Center for Digital Democracy and 13
other advocacy groups focused on children's issues filed
several complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on
August 22 asking the government regulator to investigate six
child-targeted websites. The groups are concerned that
marketers may have violated children's online privacy laws by
asking young visitors participating in games and activities related
to the site's brand to "tell a friend" or
"refer a friend" to the site.
Sites mentioned in the complaints are McDonald's
HappyMeal.com; General Mills' ReesesPuff.com and TrixWorld.com;
Doctor's Associates' SubwayKids.com; Viacom's Nick.com;
and Turner Broadcasting's CartoonNetwork.com.
The advocacy groups charge that the "tell a friend"
campaigns circumvent the requirements in the FTC's
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules that
require operators of a website directed to children under 13 not to
collect personal information from children without parental
Click here to read Adweek's coverage of the complaints.
Click here to
read the Center for Digital Democracy's press release and
complaints to the FTC.
Mouthguard Marketer Settles Concussion Reduction Claims
Case with FTC
On August 16, the FTC announced a settlement with Brain-Pad,
Inc. which prohibits the company and its president, Joseph Manzo,
from misrepresenting the health benefits of any mouthguard or other
athletic equipment intended to protect against brain
According to the FTC's press release, Brain-Pad and Manzo
made unsubstantiated claims about the company's mouthguards
such as "creates new brain safety space," "reduces
risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts" and "reduces
risk of concussions" in internet and print
advertisements. In addition, the company's advertisements
claimed that the mounthguards' ability to reduce the risk of
concussion was "clinically proven."
"Mouthguards can help to shield a person's teeth from
being injured, and some can reduce impact to the lower jaw,"
said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer
Protection in the press release. "But it's a big leap to
say these devices can also reduce the risk of concussions. The
scientific evidence to make that claim just isn't
The FTC cited the case as one of the Commission's many
recent investigations and settlements intended to combat overhyped
health and fitness claims.
here to read the FTC's press release and access a
copy of the settlement agreement.
Anti-Counterfeiting Best Practices for the Toy and Game
Industry (and Others)
The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) value of
the counterfeit toys and electronic games seized by customs and
border patrol agents in 2011 alone was $27 million, write Venable
attorneys Justin E. Pierce
and Meaghan Hemmings
Kent in a recent article published by the Toy Industry
Association. And that number accounts only for what was
Counterfeiting, Pierce and Kent say, is an unfortunate reality
of having a commercially successful toy or game in today's
marketplace. In addition to eating into marketers' profits,
infringing on their rights and diluting their brand, counterfeiters
also expose marketers to significant liability.
In the article, Pierce and Kent provide perspective on the
counterfeiting problem and outline practical strategies that
marketers of toys and games -- or any other consumer product for
that matter -- can employ to help deter, identify and take action
against counterfeiters attempting to compromise their brands.
Those loyal readers of this blog know that the focus tends to be on what your company can and cannot do regarding social media use by potential employees or current employees, but this discussion shall focus on former employees.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently released a decision in a TCPA suit brought by a man seeking damages in connection with a series of autodialed telephone calls made to his mobile phone.
The Dark Knight Rises, the latest "Batman" film released by Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. ("Warner Bros."), grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and currently stands at eighth place on the all-time worldwide box office charts.
Today's teens certainly constitute the social media generation. And a recent study titled "Teens, Social Media and Privacy" by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project sheds light on this phenomenon.
InsidePrivacy.com recently published a "survey of data security surveys" that came to troubling conclusions—that data security weaknesses remain incredibly common across industries, despite being easily avoidable.
Not many marketers have the fortitude or the financial wherewithal to go toe-to-toe with the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) to fight a charge of false advertising, writes Venable partner Gregory J.
Sater in the May issue of Electronic Retailer magazine.