Q: Besides disclosing my relationship with the company whose product I’m endorsing, what are the essential things I need to know about endorsements?
A: The most important principle is that an endorsement has to represent the accurate experience and opinion of the endorser:
- You can’t talk about your experience with a product if you haven’t tried it.
- If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can’t say it’s terrific.
You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof the advertiser doesn’t have. The Guides give the example of a blogger commissioned by an advertiser to review a new body lotion. Although the advertiser does not make any claims about the lotion’s ability to cure skin conditions and the blogger does not ask the advertiser whether there is substantiation for the claim, she writes that the lotion cures eczema. The blogger is subject to liability for making claims without having a reasonable basis for those claims.