This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.
Dona J. Fraser Appointed Director of CARU
The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and Council of Better Business Bureaus announced that Dona J. Fraser was appointed as Director of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (“CARU”). Fraser is a leading privacy expert who previously worked for the Entertainment Software Rating Board, a self-regulatory program for the video game industry. CARU is an ASRC program dedicated to monitoring child-directed advertising since 1974.
NAD OKs Certain Formula Claims with Restrictions
After a competitor challenge, the NAD has determined that, so long as there are proper disclosures, Abbott Nutrition may continue to advertise its Similac Pro-Advance and Pro-Sensitive Infant formulas. Mead Johnson Nutrition, the maker of a competing infant formula, challenged the claim that Abbott’s formula contained the ingredient “2’-fucosyllactose human milk oligosaccharide” (“HMO”). HMOs are complex carbohydrates present in human milk, and beneficial to infants. The NAD concluded that the use of the ingredient name was supported as long as it was advertised together with clear and conspicuous disclosure that the ingredient was not from human milk. Abbott said that the company would comply with the NAD’s recommendations.
FTC and Maine AG Settle Supplement Marketer Claims
The remaining three defendants that were sued for deceptively marketing dietary supplements in February 2017 by the FTC and the State of Maine have agreed to settle those charges. The agencies originally charged nine defendants with marketing products they claimed would improve memory and reduce pain through radio and print advertising. The three companies – Synergixx, LLC; an advertising agency and its principal, Charlie Fusco; and Ronald Jahner – are barred from engaging in certain marketing practices, according to the proposed orders. The supplements involved were CogniPrin and FlexiPrin.
Sixth Circuit Declines to Revive Wish.com False Advertising Case
A unanimous Sixth Circuit panel upheld a lower court decision dismissing a putative class action against Wish.com alleging false advertising. The plaintiff alleged that the website falsely advertised $27 speakers as marked down from $300, but the Sixth Circuit held that the man had shown no actual injury, and was happy with his speakers. The panel consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges Eric L. Clay, Richard Allen Griffin and Amul R. Thapar.