Native Advertising Added to BBB Code of Advertising; Deceptive Native Ads Now Violate the Code

October 25, 2016

iPad with apps

Arlington, VA (October 25, 2016) – Better Business Bureau has issued guidelines to advertisers that call for clear labeling when the design, style, and functionality of commercial messages mimic editorial content. The addition to the BBB Code of Advertising was announced yesterday at the Public Relations Society of America conference in Indianapolis, where BBB representatives were joined by the Federal Trade Commission in explaining how the new rules impact advertising, marketing, and public relations.

“Native advertising, sometimes called sponsored content, has become ubiquitous as a marketing tool,” said Katherine Hutt, BBB national spokesperson and moderator of the panel discussion at the conference. “These ads are often indistinguishable from editorial content, embedded into entertainment programming, incorporated into games, graphics, and social media. An ad that’s designed to fool consumers is – plain and simple – a bad ad, and violates our standards.”

The new addition to the BBB Code of Advertising closely follows enforcement policies recently announced by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. and aligns with the Competition Bureau in Canada, as well.

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