False Advertising Vs Puffery : False Misleading Statements

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False Advertising vs Puffery False advertising is defined as factually false statements that are used to promote a product (Waters). Puffery is defined as the promotion of a product using exaggerated statements and opinions not intended to be factual (econedlink.org, 2014). The main difference between the two is that false advertising is an illegal form of promotion and puffery is a legal form of promotion. Yet, just because puffery is legal and the false advertising is not, does not mean that they both aren’t unethical. Deceiving the consumer to benefit a company’s sales is never ethical, be it legal or not. False advertising is illegal because it is objective, which means the claims can be verified or must be backed by scientific evidence; failure to do so can result in legal action. Puffery is subjective meaning it is an opinion that cannot be verified (LaMance). Many times there is a fine line between false advertising and puffery, which is why it is regulated by the government and self-regulated by the industry. Regulatory Bodies (Council for Economic Education, 2014) • Government ­ Federal Trade Commission (FTC): deals with deceptive advertising on case-by-case basis  Stop ads  Issue fines  Jail (rare) ­ State laws (vary by state) • Industry ­ National Advertising Review Board  Handle public complaints  Pressure advertisers to change ads ­ Children’s Advertising Review Unit: reviews advertising concerning media targeting children 12 years and younger False

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