Where does the FTC draw the line on misleading advertising. We have a recent example that you can show in class. Often such ads are pulled, but Nissan’s misleading ad is still available:
You might ask your students what might make this ad misleading. It turns out at least two factors contributed to the FTC’s decision. First, the truck couldn’t actually perform as shown in the ad. Minor issue right? Cables hidden in the sand actually pull the dune buggy up the dune. Second, camera angles were played with to make the dune steeper that it really was. While Nissan claimed the video was meant to portray a “fantasy scenario” — the FTC also felt that making it look like a YouTube video was also misleading. The ad does include a small disclaimer “Fictionalization. Do not attempt” which runs in small type in the first three seconds of the ad. This article, “FTC Says ‘No Way’ to Nissan Frontier – Pushing Dune Buggy Ad” (Adweek, January 23, 2014) notes that advertising agencies should know better and can be held liable. See more at the FTC’s website. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
This video might be shown and discussed when you cover legal or ethical issues in advertising.