Marketers and publishers are using innovative methods to create, format, and deliver digital advertising.  One form is “native advertising,” content that bears a similarity to the news, feature articles, product reviews, entertainment, and other material that surrounds it online.  But as native advertising evolves, are consumers able to differentiate advertising from other content?

The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits deceptive or unfair practices.  It’s the FTC’s job to ensure that long-standing consumer protection principles apply in the digital marketplace, including to native advertising.  The FTC has issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements that explains how the agency applies established truth-in-advertising standards in this context.  This Guide for Businesses supplements the Enforcement Policy Statement by offering informal guidance from FTC staff to help companies apply the Policy Statement in day-to-day contexts in digital media.

It has been six months since the FTC issued its guidelines on native advertising, affecting the communications industry, as well as others. On June 10 at the PR Summit DC, Pam Jenkins, president of Powell Tate, will speak with Mary K. Engle, who created the guidelines at the FTC, about the how they are being received and the future implications and concerns for our clients and our industry.

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