Advertising Law Definition: Everything You Need To Know

The advertising law definition is the practice area that protects customers from fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading product claims.2 min read

The advertising law definition is the practice area that protects customers from fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading product claims. As technology rapidly evolves, so do laws that govern media and advertising. The past few years have seen the rise of brand-new advertising channels, including affiliate, mobile, and social media marketing. Simultaneously, the traditional ad agency model remains in place, including the contributions of product developers, producers, marketers, and payment processing.

Choosing an Advertising Lawyer

If your business advertises and promotes its products, you need legal counsel who pays close attention to new developments in this dynamic practice area. He or she should be able to provide advice about the liability associated with your company's advertising and marketing endeavors. Ideally, you need to strike a balance between optimizing profit and minimizing legal risk.

Your advertising attorney should also be creative enough to foresee potential customer interpretations of ad claims that may be legally problematic. Advertising law can be enforced either through government regulation or litigation. The attorney must understand how these systems work together and against one another and be able to strategically deal with judges, prosecutors, regulatory agencies, and opposing counsel.

Laws About Advertising Notices

An advertising notice is defined as an ad either in a newspaper or handbill. It is legally required to give public notice of certain acts. When this notice includes a description of items for sale and/or the terms of this sale, the person who posted the ad is legally bound to these terms. If these terms are not met, the buyer may be entitled to restoration of the advertised terms and/or the implied contract may be void.

Advertising Litigation

This area within advertising law is associated with cases that involve deceiving or false advertising. Deceptive advertising is defined as untrue, confusing, or misleading statements designed to unduly influence a customer's purchasing decision. Legislation is in place to protect customers from this type of advertising. Like consumer law, advertising law is designed to promote and preserve truth in labeling.

Other businesses or government agencies can sue businesses for false or deceptive advertisement based on the Lanham Act, which outlines terms that constitute false advertising.

  • Companies who have made false claims in their marketing materials can be sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which can prevent these claims from being used in ads.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration can ask companies to prove claims made in advertising if they are suspected to be misleading or false.
  • Customers can sue companies for false advertising in a class action lawsuit.
  • False advertising can also be halted if proceedings are brought by the National Advertising Division.

These laws are designed to protect consumers from making purchases based on false information.

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