5 Legal Considerations When Using Testimonials In Advertising
Repurposing testimonials in the form of Advertisements is a great way to make the most out of the customer praise you collect. Whether you turn your video testimonials into video ads on Facebook or Youtube, or add your photo testimonials to sponsored posts online, there are a multitude of ways to use your positive customer feedback as advertising. When you are using customer testimonials in advertising there are a few legal considerations to keep in mind to make sure you’re not breaking the law.
Here are 5 legal considerations when using testimonials in advertising:
#1: Disclose your relationship with your customer endorser
For the advertisements of your product or service that feature an endorsement, you need to ensure that the relationship between your company and the endorser is made clear. If your company is posting the testimonial advertisement you need to disclose the customers background with your company. For example, if you had a loyal customer try a newly introduced product and then leave a testimonial about that product, you need to introduce the testimonial advertisement as such. This is especially important for paid endorsements. If the customer is posting the testimonial advertisement they need to specify that it is an ad or sponsored material. The more transparent you are, the less likely that there is the potential to be deceitful with your advertising.
#2: Convey accurate, truthful claims
Testimonials as advertising need to be accurate and truthful. Claims about results should reflect the actual experience of the customer and be backed up by proof. Especially when results include any medical, monetary, or other claims that could potentially be harmful if misinterpreted. For example if you are a real estate agent, and your customer leaves a testimonial about how you helped them sell their home for double the price they purchased it for, you need to disclose the entire story to ensure that the advertisement is accurate.
#3: Get your customer’s consent
Before using customer testimonials as advertisements you need to ensure that you have customer consent. If you do not highlight the ownership of the testimonial at the point of collection, you need to get written consent to use the testimonial as an advertisement.
#4: Expert or Celebrity social proof must be recognized
If you are using a celebrity or expert testimonial advertisement you need to convey their expertise and your relationship with them. If a celebrity is using their platforms to show a testimonial advertisement for your brand, they need to specify that it is a sponsored ad. The same guidelines apply to an expert testimonial. You also should prove their expertise and relationship with your company. For example, if you sell a teeth whitening product and have it reviewed in a testimonial advertisement by a dentist, that dentist’s expertise and title needs to be showcased. This will allow the potential customer to make accurate judgement about your product.
#5: Avoid using exaggerated information
Exaggerating results will also lead to some issues when using testimonials in advertising. Especially results that include medical, monetary, or other potentially harmful information if misinterpreted. For example, if you sell a weight loss product and you are using one of your customer’s testimonials as an advertisement, the way their results were achieved should not be over exaggerated. If they used other methods of weight loss on top of using your product, that information needs to be disclosed to your customers. When using testimonials in advertising you need to ensure that the customer you use as your spokesperson reflects the typical and average experience of your customers as a whole. If the customer’s experience is not typical, that needs to be made clear.
The most important legal tip to remember when using testimonials in advertising is that they must be truthful. Testimonials are a great tool to help your company persuade potential customers with valuable social proof, and are a great advertising option when used properly. What are unique ways that your company has used customer testimonials in advertising? Comment below!