Clear and Conspicuous Disclosures: Can You Read the Fine Print?

For this episode of Ad Watchers, our hosts Eric Unis and Annie Ugurlayan, attorneys at the National Advertising Division (NAD), dive into the fine print to discuss disclosures – the what, when, where, and how of ensuring consumers receive the material information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. 

From small fonts to fast talking and distracting music, our hosts revisit this common issue area in advertising law. Listen in for a discussion of what it takes for a disclosure to be considered clear and conspicuous and uncover lessons learned from a series of print and TV advertisements that didn’t quite meet the standard for transparency. 

For more, listen to Season 1’s episode covering the 4 P’s of a proper disclosure: prominence, presentation, placement, and proximity.

Key Takeaways

  • (1:30) Proper execution of disclosures in advertising is crucial to ensure that consumers notice, read, and understand them.
  • (3:26) Disclosures should be clear and conspicuous, using plain English and being in close proximity to the claim or drawing attention to the disclosure. Hyperlinks should be used carefully, ensuring that important information is not hidden behind them and that they are easily noticeable and understandable.
  • (04:23) Consider the specific requirements of different advertising formats, such as TV, radio, and mobile devices, when designing and placing disclosures.
  • (22:06) Disclosures on packaging should be on the same panel as the claim and easily visible to consumers.
  • (24:30) Font size and readability of disclosures should be prioritized, avoiding the need for magnifying glasses.
  • (25:26) Use plain English in disclosures, keeping in mind that they should be easily understood by the average consumer.