Advertising watchdog Truthinadvertising.org (otherwise known as TINA.org) has released its five advertising trends to watch out for in 2020. If you're looking to avoid being featured on TINA.org's website, or being the subject of a TINA.org complaint to the FTC, this is a good list to keep in mind. Here are the key things that TINA.org is concerned about right now:

  • CGI influencers -- With the rise of computer-generated influencers, TINA.org expressed concerns about whether consumers understand that the CGI influencers they are following aren't real. One important takeaway here is that if you're working with a CGI influencer, you should consider whether consumers will understand not only that the influencer is giving a paid endorsement, but that the influencer is not an actual person. If you think consumers may be confused, it's worth considering whether disclosures -- or other creative changes -- are needed.
  • Unauthorized use of FDA logo -- TINA.org said that it has seen marketers improperly using the Food and Drug Administration's logo on packaging. TINA.org's concern here is that consumers may believe that the use of the FDA logo falsely communicates that the FDA has endorsed the product.
  • Multilevel marketers facing pyramid scheme charges -- TINA.org said that 2020 is the year to watch out for companies that are posing as multilevel marketers, but are in reality just pyramid schemes.
  • Fake chocolate and vanilla -- TINA.org has also got its eye on marketers promoting "chocolate" and "vanilla" products that don't, in fact, have those ingredients in them. This is a good reminder that, whenever you name a product, or describe it, or include imagery that illustrates the ingredients or flavors, you should consider whether consumers will be confused about what the actual ingredients are. (Here's a post we did from last fall on the topic.)
  • Use of bogus RCTs -- Planning to make claims that your product is "clinically tested" or "clinically proven"? If so, you'd better make sure you've got competent and reliable scientific evidence to back it up. According to TINA.org, "One of the more disturbing deceptive ad trends TINA.org will be tracking in the new year is the use of bogus RCTs (randomized, placebo-controlled trials) in support of claims that products are 'clinically tested' or 'clinically proven.'"

Some good tips from TINA.org for 2020. If you're looking for more tips, check out our year-end post on things to watch out for as well.

"One of the more disturbing deceptive ad trends TINA.org will be tracking in the new year is the use of bogus RCTs (randomized, placebo-controlled trials) in support of claims that products are 'clinically tested' or 'clinically proven'"