New FTC rules screw Jared, Bowflex granny

The long-awaited FTC guidelines concerning the "use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising" were posted today, and they're sure to get lots of buzz for their first-ever rules for bloggers, including mandatory disclosure of paid reviews. But the real game-changer may be the crackdown on the use of "Results not typical" disclaimers in advertising, a loophole that's enabled decades of preposterous claims such as, "I lost 50 pounds in a week!" and "I made $100,000 in my first month!" Here's how the FTC summarizes the change: "In contrast to the 1980 version of the guides—which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as 'Results not typical'—the revised guides no longer contain this safe harbor." While this could represent a much-deserved kick to the crotch of late-night snake-oil salesmen, it also seems to be bad news for mainstream brands like Bowflex and Subway, whose success stories (hot granny and Jared, respectively) center on rare cases of extreme willpower. Sounds like they might have to try out some new copy, like, "Bowflex. You'll burn dozens of calories hauling it from your closet to your yard sale!"

—Posted by David Griner