Each New Year often begins with a personal “gut check” — whether it’s a reflection on what we did or didn’t accomplish in 2013 — or a resolution to be a better person.  For many businesses, New Year’s resolutions mean a more focused effort on self-regulation.

I write this as I eat my carefully measured single serving of whole-grain cereal, accompanied by protein-packed plain yogurt, a heaping spoonful of willpower, and the hope that I can soon get back into my skinny jeans. Yes, I too have resolved to watch my gut, hopefully shrink instead of grow in 2014.

Weight loss tops the list in terms of Americans’ New Year’s resolutions, so it’s no surprise that marketers are seizing the day to promote products and services that help consumers achieve their goals.  What is surprising is that bad actors are not seizing the day when it comes to employing best practices and self-regulation – some are even making bloated and unsupported claims that erode consumer trust.

In response to this, the FTC has launched their own “gut check” campaign to spot spurious weight loss claims and misleading ads.  The FTC’s new guidelines and tutorials are a positive step in helping marketers become better partners with consumers.  They also help consumers “check their gut” and become savvier at spotting unsupported claims.

As I work hard to fulfill my own New Year’s resolutions, I want to applaud the FTC for encouraging advertisers and publishers to do a better job at self-regulation and putting the consumer first.

At DMA, we are helping marketers fulfill their New Year’s resolutions by providing industry education and information about rules (FTC guidance, regulations, laws, etc.) and tools (best practices, strategies, tips, etc.).  For example, we know that Jessica Rich, Director of FTC’s consumer protection bureau and advertising top cop is laser-focused on some core areas for 2014, including Native Advertising – so we’re offering relevant educational programs to keep you up to date on all the new regulations.

Please let us know what YOUR New Year’s self-regulation resolutions are.  Share with us in the comment area below.



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