Tag Archives: Ad Watchers

Episode Show Notes: Where is the Line Between Ethical Design and Dark Patterns?



0:00-1:26 This Ad Watchers episode provides insight into “Dark Patterns.” Coined by Harry Brignull in 2010, the term “dark patterns” is used to describe design practices that trick or manipulate users into making choices they would not otherwise have made, and that may cause harm. Eric Unis, Senior Attorney at the National Advertising Division (NAD), and his colleague Annie Ugurlayan, NAD’s Assistant Director, are joined by guest Deputy Director Katherine Armstrong. Katherine is a deputy director of the National Advertising Division (NAD) at BBB National Programs. She manages NAD attorneys and the overall case management and handling of monitoring and competitor-challenged truth-in-advertising cases, supporting long-term operations planning for the 50-year-old program.

Continue reading Episode Show Notes: Where is the Line Between Ethical Design and Dark Patterns?


Where is the Line Between Ethical Design and Dark Patterns?



Think about the times you felt tricked or frustrated by a membership or subscription that had a seamless signup process but was later difficult to cancel. Something that should be simple and transparent can be complicated, intentionally or unintentionally, in ways that impair consumer choice. These are examples of dark patterns. Unfortunately, dark patterns are becoming increasingly common as companies look for ways to boost profits. While some may seem harmless, others can have serious consequences for users. 

Where is the line between ethical, persuasive design and dark patterns? In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Eric and Annie are joined by guest Deputy Director of the National Advertising Division, Katherine Armstrong to answer that question. Together, these three explore dark patterns and the FTC’s recent report on the topic, provide some real examples from NAD cases, and deliver commentary on the FTC’s response to the proliferation of these dark patterns. Listen now to understand the most common dark pattern tactics and how you can avoid them while still producing compelling, persuasive advertising.   

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here.  


Episode Show Notes: How is Direct Selling Advertising Different?



00:00 – This Ad Watchers episode provides insight into BBB National Program’s Direct Selling Self Regulatory Council (DSSRC) and how it works within the direct selling industry. Eric Unis, Senior Attorney at the National Advertising Division (NAD), and his colleague Annie Ugurlayan, NAD’s Assistant Director, are joined by guest Peter Marinello, the Vice President of DSSRC.

Continue reading Episode Show Notes: How is Direct Selling Advertising Different?


How is Direct Selling Advertising Different?



For years, the direct selling industry carried a stigma of frauds and pyramid schemes, but in 2019, the Direct Selling Association decided to take control of its reputation. They enlisted the help of BBB National Programs to develop a self-regulatory program. From this partnership came the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC).

In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Eric and Annie are joined by the Vice President of the DSSRC, Peter Marinello. Peter shares with listeners how the DSSRC has worked to support the direct selling industry. Listen now to understand self-regulation’s impact on the market and what to expect during a direct selling self-regulatory case.

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here


Revisiting the Best Podcast Episode Ever: What is Puffery?



When you hear a claim in an advertisement like, “best in the world,” you probably know that the product has not been measurably proven to actually be the best in the world. And that’s okay, because this is an example of puffery, an exaggerated, blustering, or boastful statement or general claim that could only be understood to be an expression of opinion, not a statement of fact. But where is the line between puffery and a claim that needs a reasonable basis?

In this episode of Ad Watchers, hosts Eric Unis and Annie Ugurlayan revisit a fan favorite episode from season one. Listen to hear Hal Hodes and La Toya Sutton break down the questions they ask to determine whether or not a statement is puffery. Later in the episode, they are joined by none other than current host Eric to judge the Battle Royale of Puffery: each host presents cases that illustrate various types of this practice. Tune in to hear which of our hosts has the best examples of puffery in the universe!

For more information about this episode, read the show notes here