Posts Tagged ‘federal trade commission’

Beverage Update: Say Good-Bye to Those Fruity Forties, Those Ubiquitous 23.5-Ounce Cans of Four-Loko

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The upshot of last week’s big news is that the FTC wants you all to treat 4-Loko as something you’d be pouring into cups to share instead of you bogarting a huge can just for yourself.

These cans, which actually have more alcohol than a forty, aren’t resealable, so they’re destined for Hell:

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All the deets:

“FTC Requires Packaging Changes for Fruit-Flavored Four Loko Malt Beverage - Marketer of Supersized, High-Alcohol Beverage Agrees to Stop Allegedly Deceptive Claims to Settle FTC Charges

The marketers of Four Loko have agreed to re-label and repackage the supersized, high-alcohol, fruit-flavored, carbonated malt beverage, to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising.

The FTC alleges that Phusion Projects, LLC and its principals falsely claimed that a 23.5-ounce, 11 or 12 percent alcohol by volume can of Four Loko contains alcohol equivalent to one or two regular 12-ounce beers, and that a consumer could drink one can safely in its entirety on a single occasion.

In fact, according to the FTC, one can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four to five 12-ounce cans of regular beer and is not safe to drink on a single occasion. Consuming a single can of Four Loko on a single occasion constitutes “binge drinking,” which is defined by health officials as men drinking five (and women drinking four) or more standard alcoholic drinks in about two hours.

“Deception about alcohol content is dangerous to consumers, and it’s a serious concern for the FTC,” said David Vladeck, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four or five beers, but it is marketed as a single-serving beverage.”

The 23.5-ounce Four Loko cans are the size of about two regular beer cans and are non-resealable. The FTC complaint alleged that on one company website, consumers were encouraged to enter a “photo contest” in which they posted many photos of people drinking directly from the 23.5-ounce Four Loko cans. In stocking instructions, Phusion urged merchants to place the cans where other refrigerated, single-serve alcoholic beverages are displayed.

The administrative settlement requires Phusion Projects to include disclosures on containers of Four Loko, or any other flavored malt beverage containing more alcohol than two and-a-half regular beers, stating how much alcohol – compared to the amount of alcohol found in regular beer – is in the drink. The order also specifies the location and appearance of the disclosure. For example, the disclosure for a 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko with 12 percent alcohol by volume would state: “This can has as much alcohol as 4.5 regular (12 oz. 5% alc/vol) beers.”

Starting six months after the settlement takes effect, Phusion Projects is required to use only resealable containers for flavored malt beverages that have more alcohol than the equivalent of two and a half regular beers.

Also, the settlement bars Phusion Projects from misrepresenting the alcohol content of any beverage, and from depicting people drinking directly from the container of any product containing more alcohol than that found in two and a half regular beers.”

Ever more deets after the jump.

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Harvard Law Review Pwns Federal Trade Commission’s New Blogger Guidelines

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The Harvard Law Review has just said, “How About No” to the FTC’s overbroad blogger guidelines. Check it:

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised their Endorsement and Testimonial Guides (Guides) to cover “consumer generated media” such as blogs and other internet media forms. In the interest of providing consumers with full disclosure, the Guides require bloggers to disclose any “material connection[s]” they have with producers of any products that they “endorse” on their blogs. A “material connection” includes not only monetary compensation, but also any free good received by the blogger — even if that good was provided unsolicited, with no conditions attached, for the purpose of allowing the blogger to review the product.

Yet a constitutional analysis of unpaid blogger endorsements shows that such endorsements are not commercial speech — which receives reduced constitutional protection — but rather noncommercial speech entitled to full First Amendment protection. Not only do the Guides burden bloggers’ protected speech, they also create an unfair double standard by exempting legacy media from the Guides’ disclosure requirements. Therefore, the Guides should be ruled unconstitutional as applied to bloggers.

O.K. then.

Wonder when they’ll take down these smarmy videos

New Fling Chocolate Bar Tastes Surprisingly Good. Plus, It Cures Eczema

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Not too long ago Mars, Incorporated introduced a new “women’s candy bar” with an interesting, somewhat patronizing marketing campaign - read all about it here in a post from January 2009. But now that Fling’s available in stores, you can try it for yourself. And guess what, I’ve tried it myself, but I’ve got to be careful what I say because the United States Federal Trade Commission is working on new rules that would hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products. Oh noes! This is no April Fools joke – it was written up on CBS5 Eye on Blogs, so it must be true.

Now it just so happens that a few weeks back, Mars, Inc. sent a dump truck full of Fling Bars over here and filled up three of my spare garbage cans (yes I put new liners in first) full of these Twix-like “chocolate fingers.” Wow. First of all, they’re surprisingly good – lightweight and a little pricey for what you get but very tasty. Second of all, these Fling bars cure the skin disease excema! Cleared it right up – it was all gone by April 1st, can you believe it?!?

Mmmmmm…..fingers. Nothing wrong with the hazelnut version. Dee-lish:

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So, leave no doubt, I endorse Fling chocolate bars because they taste great (as well they should since they’re six times smaller than a regular chocobar) and also because they cure excema.

I must say, this encounter with viral marketing worked out much better than last time, when those phonies at Butler, Shine & Stern up in Marin County pulled their fake giant Indiana Jones Lego ball routine. Now let’s all hope I don’t get sued by the FTC.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Advertisers in the US are bracing themselves for regulatory changes that they fear will curtail their efforts to tap into the fast-growing online social media phenomenon.

Revised guidelines on endorsements and testimonials by the Federal Trade Commission, now under review and expected to be adopted, would hold companies liable for untruthful statements made by bloggers and users of social networking sites who receive samples of their products.

 

The guidelines would also hold bloggers liable for the statements they make about products.

 

If a blogger received a free sample of skin lotion and then incorrectly claimed the product cured eczema, the FTC could sue the company for making false or unsubstantiated statements. The blogger could be sued for making false representations.

 

“This impacts every industry and almost every single brand in our economy, and that trickles down into social media,” said Anthony DiResta, an attorney representing several advertising associations.

 

Advertisers have significantly increased spending on social media and word-of-mouth campaigns, even during the recession. Through blogs and services such as Facebook and Twitter, companies are able to communicate more directly with consumers. Spending on social media marketing reached $1.35bn in 2007 and is expected to reach $3.7bn by 2011, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.”