Ad requirements for dietary supplement marketers


Great American Products Inc., Physician’s Choice and Stephen Karian have had their wrists slapped a little harder by the FTC after being charged for a second time with deceptive advertising. Usually when the FTC is on the dietary warpath, it is because unsubstantiated claims have been made about a product’s benefits.

Not this time: In this case, the defendants were using infomercials on both television and radio to market dietary supplements, sublingual sprays and other items, and failed to make clear that the programs were in fact paid advertisements. By court order, they must now do the following when running similar ads:

* The defendants must display a visual paid advertising disclosure continuously throughout the ordering instructions during television advertisements.

* The defendants must broadcast a supplemental audio paid advertising disclosure simultaneously with the initial visual disclosure (in the first 30 seconds of the advertisement, for a period of at least 10 seconds), clearly and audibly, in a cadence sufficient for the ordinary consumer to hear and comprehend, and in a volume as loud or louder than the loudest statement in the advertisement.

* The audio paid advertising disclosure for a radio advertisement must be as loud or louder than the loudest statement in the advertisement, and the defendants must make the disclosure immediately prior to ordering instructions.

RBR/TVBR observation: The defendants appear to have gotten off without a fine, and as a benefit to all who run infomercials, the FTC and the court have provided a highly specific guideline on how to go about running one without running afoul of the rules. In particular, it is a rare look at the FTC’s preferred procedure for radio infomercials — so rare, in fact, that we cannot remember seeing anything like it before. Presented by RBR/TVBR courtesy of the FTC for your own infomercial production safety.