Cease –and – Desist Orders
The cease –and –desist order, which prohibits the respondent from engaging further in the deceptive practice, It has been criticized as being a command to “go and sin no more”, which has little practical effect. By the time the cease- and-desist order is issued, the advertising may have served its purpose and another campaign may be underway anyway.
Restitution means that the consumer is compensated for any damage. Restitution is rarely considered because of its severity.
If an advertisement has provided insufficient information to the consumer, an affirmative disclosure might be issued. Affirmative disclosures require “clear and conspicuous” disclosure of the omitted information. Often the involved information relates to deficiencies or limitations of the product or service relating to matters of health or safety.
Corrective advertising required advertisers to rectify past deception by making suitable statements in future commercials.
Some important issues could need your research on the subject. Any remedy should be non punitive in nature and should not be burdensome.
- How do you determine whether the corrective advertising is generating damage to sales or image?
- Any remedy should preserve First Amendment rights to express ideas. What about those ideas that are counter to the corrective message’s claims?
- Can an advertiser simply decide to stop advertising, thereby avoiding corrective advertising?
One problem with corrective advertising is that it has usually resulted in lawyers writing copy and insisting that it be run some arbitrary length of time.
The implementation of the communication objective approach to corrective advertising will always face difficulties. The problem of ascertaining how misperception and its effect are to be measured and the appropriate target level of misperception that should be obtained reappears in this context. Judgments on such questions are required to set communication objectives. Obviously, a zero misperception level is not generally feasible. Yet regulators and the general public to which they must answer have difficulty accepting realistic standards.
A key is to know whether the advertiser is making a good faith effort toward the objective.
Copy testing could logically be used to address this point, but the parties would have to agree in advance on relevant and suitable tests, a difficult prospect. Another problem is the cost of measuring deception over time. The tracking required measuring the impact of the commercials- no problem for large advertisers, who do that anyway – could be costly for smaller advertisers and may require the government to share some of the costs.
Corrective advertising has only rarely been considered, largely because of the difficulties in deciding on the target objective. However, it remains an important option and serves to focus attention on the central issues in deception cases.
Another mechanism that inhibits deceptive advertising is the possibility of competitor lawsuits, in which firms charge that false advertising has caused them damage.