July 3rd, 2012
FTC Warns Advertisers About 'Up To' Claims
By Katy Bachman
Advertisers need to be careful if they use the phrase “up to” in claims about their products. The Federal Trade Commission issued a new guidance warning advertisers that telling consumers they will save “up to 47 percent in energy costs” are likely to believe they will get that result.
The FTC’s guidance was based on a study it conducted in May that found that consumers believe “up to” means they will get the maximum savings.
The new guidance is part of the agency’s efforts to make sure that environmental marketing claims—a popular marketing trend among advertisers—are truthful and based on scientific evidence.
“Before advertisers may have thought that if one person got the maximum result, they could make the claim. Our study suggests 50 percent or more of users should get that result,” said Mary Engle, the associate director of advertising practices for the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection division.