The Checkout

"Results May Vary"

Annys Shin

We've all seen that line, flashing across the screen in tiny print during some infomercial as a svelte young gal or guy explains they lost a gazillion pounds by trying the Flabinator or some other drug and/or exercise device.

The Federal Trade Commission wants to know what you think about some changes the commission has proposed to its guidance on advertising endorsements and testimonials.

Among the substantive changes the FTC wants is to make advertisers that use a testimonial of an atypical experience to clearly tell consumers what the typical results would be, rather than just flash these three familiar words across the screen.

Surveys of consumers cited by the FTC show that when many people see testimonials, they tend to believe that the experience of the person giving it is what they would experience - even when that disclaimer "results may vary" or "results not typical" is included.

Comments have to be in by Jan. 30, 2009.

You can submit written comments electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to "Endorsement Guides Review, Project No. P034520." Comments will be placed on the public record, including on the publicly accessible FTC website, and therefore should not include any sensitive or confidential information.

You can read the proposed changes here.

By Annys Shin |  November 24, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Annys Shin
Previous: The Mystery of the Missing Sentences | Next: Traces of Melamine Found in U.S.-Made Infant Formula


Please email us to report offensive comments.

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company