Guess what? You can’t endorse yourself! Well, you can (and if you’re living in the White House, you often do), but if you do, you need to make it clear that it’s you doing the endorsing!
That’s one of the issues involved in the FTC’s recent $8.6 Million Dollar settlement with Health Center, Inc., a company selling so-called health and wellness products to older consumers under the Rejuvi brand name which purported – without any clinical support -- to cure a number of serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The defendants marketed these products through ads and telemarketing. And their ads included testimonials from their own employees in the guise of testimonials from ordinary consumers. As the FTC has made clear in numerous enforcement actions, ads that include testimonials and endorsements from a company's employees must clearly and conspicuously disclose the "material connection" between the advertiser and the endorser. And, of course, they must be truthful.
The Health Center's activities were the subject of a 2016 law enforcement action by the Iowa Attorney General. However, the FTC alleged, the defendants continued to engage in such practices for more than a year after being notified of the FTC’s investigation.
Aside from the multi-million dollar judgment, the settlement includes injunctive provisions, prohibiting the defendants from claiming that any product it markets improves memory; causes weight or fat loss, or causes wrinkles to disappear; or treats, mitigates, or cures any disease, unless they have the support of randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled human clinical testing conducted by researchers qualified by training and experience to conduct such testing.