State Consumer Protection and Enforcement in an ERA of Federal Deregulation

by Bill McClellan on Aug 14, 2017 9:52:55 AM Government Relations

As the Trump Administration promises less regulation on businesses, states stand ready to fill any enforcement void left at the federal level. One of the big questions on everyone’s minds at the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In was, what can we expect to see in the next four years?

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Friday Forecast: 'TV Everywhere': The Third Era of TV Has Arrived

by Rick Petry on Aug 11, 2017 10:39:05 AM Consumer Behavior

An article in Barron’s published this last weekend entitled “TV’s Sports Problem” contained this startling forecast: that by 2020, Google and YouTube parent Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon could have $100 billion in free cash flow in their coffers on a combined basis, compared to $30 billion for broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. That means the online marketers will have more than three times the amount of money to bid for sports rights, and to create original programming to compete with conventional television channels.

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What Does Your Payment Process Say About Your Business?

by Bill McClellan on Aug 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM Customer Service

Sales are up, and so is fraud. Many credit card processors are still using antiquated systems which could hurt your business. Make sure to research prospective processors wisely so you don’t get trapped in a long-term, expensive contract with a processor who uses outdated equipment and gives poor customer support.

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Friday Forecast: Amazon's Change in Returns Policy: It's a Package Deal

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Aug 4, 2017 1:32:37 PM e-Commerce

E-commerce giant Amazon created an uproar this week when CNBC reported that the online retailer was making changes to its returns policy that would dramatically affect marketplace sellers.

According to the report, sellers doing their own fulfillment would now be subject to the same return policies as those shipping products via the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon service.

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Friday Forecast: Buh-Bye Coke Zero: A Case of Zero Recall or Shrewd Move?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 28, 2017 10:53:34 AM Consumer

For over 35 years now “New Coke” has been used as a textbook example of a bad business decision and a public relations debacle. Recall that in 1985, after 15 years of eroding sales, the Coca-Cola Company decided to reformulate Coca-Cola and introduce “New Coke” to the marketplace, a supposedly superior tasting product that would help reinvigorate the brand. Consumers rebelled, hoarding the original formulation, and vehemently protesting the corporation’s decision. After 89 days, the old drink – now dubbed “Coca-Cola Classic” was brought back and marketed beside the new entrant until, over time, the latter died off from American store shelves along with the controversy that surrounded it.

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Back That Claim Up! Examining Claim Substantiation

by Bill McClellan on Jul 27, 2017 3:28:36 PM Advertisements

How do we maintain trust in advertising in a time of increased skepticism of the media? One way is through claim substantiation. During the 2017 ERSP Self-Regulation Summit held in conjunction with the Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C., our panel of advertising lawyers weighed in on how to navigate the complex world of claim substantiation.

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Friday Forecast: Is Bias Infecting Your Marketing Efforts?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 21, 2017 11:01:25 AM Brand Marketing, Social Media

Amid our hazy summer of discontent, accusations of bias are everywhere. From charges of prejudicial news reporting, to the suppression of free speech on campuses, to one-sided social media screeds, the human tendency to lean into the views we agree with has become increasingly commonplace. In a world that is awash with a glut of information, the instinct to sort through and locate data that aligns with our preconceived notions acts as a kind of shortcut that allows one to separate the proverbial wheat from the chafe.

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What’s Telemarketing Got to Do with It?

by Bill McClellan on Jul 19, 2017 9:41:28 AM Advertisements, Consumer Protection

Let’s travel back in time to the 90’s when the majority of lead generators were small sales floors. Fast forward to 2017 and you can probably list off the timing and location of when and where you received your last five robocalls.

This is something you can thank online lead generation for according to Lois C. Greisman, associate director, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). She says that by visiting websites and filling out your information, you could be placed on every call list available.

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Friday Forecast: Amazon Prime Day Proves the Power of Scarcity

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 14, 2017 10:34:06 AM Consumer Behavior, Consumer Impression

It was the day after Christmas when one of your Friday Forecasters started canvassing a table of Jim Shore holiday figurines that were priced at half-off in the cellar at Macy’s. No other shoppers were paying any attention whatsoever to the display until your faithful narrator started setting some boxes aside indicating purchase intent. Soon, like moths to a flame, the table was surrounded by like-minded individuals who engaged in a kind of feeding frenzy, jockeying amongst one another for the remaining spoils.

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California Advertising: Automatic Renewal & Continuous Service Offers

by Bill McClellan on Jul 13, 2017 3:20:04 PM Advocacy

As you know, ERA has a laser focus on advocating before the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and the like on your behalf. Due to the nature of the issues the association engages with, it's rare that a state legislative issue rises to the forefront and creates material risk for industry participants around the country. California’s engagement on CAN-SPAM in the early 2000's was an exception to this general rule. However, there is now another California bill, SB 313, that rises to that level. It could potentially have far reaching global implications that you should know about and follow.

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Friday Forecast: What Collecting Vinyl May Also Say About the Future of Retail

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 7, 2017 9:19:45 AM Retail

According to a recent forecast from Credit Suisse, some 8,640 brick-and-mortar store fronts may close this year in the U.S. alone. We’re talking mainline brands such as Kmart, JC Penney, The Limited, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, and the list goes on, representative of some 147 million square feet. That’s more than the historical peak of 6,200 storefronts that were a casualty of 2008’s Great Recession. A combination of over-building and, more importantly, consumers’ increasing appetite for e-commerce is creating a retail tumbleweed effect akin to Walmart moving in and blowing out every mom-and-pop operation lined up on Main Street U.S.A.

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Have a Complicated Relationship With Your Direct Response Advertising Campaign?

by Bill McClellan on Jul 6, 2017 2:00:54 PM Consumer Behavior, Direct Response

Are you worried that your products aren’t effectively reaching your target audience? Frustrated that you need to continue to find creative ways to market products to consumers? It’s complicated.

At the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In, we were joined by speakers Bala Iyer, executive VP & chief operating officer, Telebrands, Marc Roth, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and Jennifer DeMarco, general counsel, All-Star Marketing for a panel entitled, “We’re All in this Together: The Complicated Relationship that Makes up your Direct Response Advertising Campaign.” And the panel was moderated by Ellen T. Burge, partner, Venable LLP.

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Friday Forecast: Budweiser's Patriotic Tribute Strikes the Perfect Note

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 30, 2017 9:30:15 AM Advertisements

Have you seen it? The moving video courtesy of United States Marine Core veteran and actor Adam Driver done in collaboration with Budweiser and the Folds of Honor Foundation, a non-profit that gives scholarships to family members of fallen and injured veterans who have served the country? Take less than four minutes out of your life to watch it below, and then report back. Don’t read below until you have. Then: we need to discuss.

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What’s Hot in Digital Media? What’s Not Quite so Hot?

by Bill McClellan on Jun 29, 2017 2:10:11 PM Digital Marketing, Advertisements

It’s time to play a game called, ‘what’s hot and what’s not in digital media?’ The insight comes from the 2017 Government Affairs fly-in panel presentation entitled “What’s Hot & Not – Policy & Marketing Strategies for Digital Media.”

We were joined by Jonathan Gelfand, chief legal officer & SVP business development, BeachBody LLC, Rich Cleland, assistant director for advertising practices, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the panel was moderated by Jeff Knowles, partner, Venable LLP.

Our panelists explored the opportunities and challenges associated with issues in the blossoming digital landscape.

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Friday Forecast: What's Up With Networks' Nielsen Titling Monkey Business?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 23, 2017 9:41:40 AM Advertisements

While perusing the most recent issue of The Weekly Standard, your Friday Forecasters came across this curious headline: “NBC’s Fake News Show.” The piece went on to explain that NBC had recently come under fire for selectively changing the title on their primetime news show from NBC Nightly News to NBC Nitely News for the purpose of Nielsen’s audience ratings tracking.

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Words to the Wise From a State Attorney General to Direct Response Marketers

by Bill McClellan on Jun 22, 2017 9:41:23 AM Advocacy, Government Relations, Consumer

In May, I wrote “The FTC Isn't the Only One Watching Direct Response Marketers.” This still holds true. State attorneys general, such as Karl A. Racine (D-DC), an up-and-coming star in the Democratic Party, and other state regulators are making enforcement waves on direct response marketers. And according to Racine, state attorneys general are ready to lean in on enforcement and step up.

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Mobile Payments: Traditional Tides Are Changing

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Jun 21, 2017 9:34:39 AM Consumer Behavior

Retailers beware: A hesitancy to ride the wave of mobile payments could sink your business and submerge your sustainability. The traditional ebb and flow of card-centered purchases is on its way out to sea.

Trusting a mobile wallet, or near field communication (NFC) payment method, may seem dangerous, but your customers want it. And customers usually get what they want.

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Friday Forecast: Q3 Snapshot: 5 Things DRTV Advertisers Can Expect

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 16, 2017 4:17:49 PM Advertisements

This week your Friday Forecasters sat down with Scott Kowalchek, President & CEO of DirectAvenue, a short form direct response television (DRTV) and brand media planning and buying agency. Our aim: to identify trends that may have an impact on the third quarter DRTV media marketplace as well as evolving directions that are likely to impact such advertisers into the future. 

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Direct Marketing and Politics: A Partnership for the Ages

by Bill McClellan on Jun 15, 2017 2:01:53 PM Advocacy, Government Relations

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) joined us as our legislative keynote speaker on day two of the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In and his remarks on the current political landscape were inspiring. Strange’s regulatory experience as Alabama’s Attorney General has given him plenty of background knowledge of the direct response industry to take straight into the U.S. Senate.

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Friday Forecast: The Normalization of Digital Piracy: A Blight on Advertisers

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 9, 2017 1:00:47 PM Consumer Behavior, Advertisements

There’s a lot of talk about shifts in media consumption habits by generation and the implications that it has for the traditional interruptive television advertising model. We know eyeballs are shifting away from TV onto smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, especially among the demographic groups under 35 years of age. We know too that more content is being streamed on a delayed or on-demand basis and that viewers are either fast forwarding past our commercials or foregoing them altogether.

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Full Disclosure: What You Need to Know

by Bill McClellan on Jun 8, 2017 2:17:12 PM FTC, Self Regulation

One of our featured speakers at this year’s Government Affairs Fly-In was the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Frank Gorman, assistant director, Division of Enforcement. Gorman supervises compliance investigations and enforcement litigation and previously served as the chief of the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit.

During Gorman’s presentation, he stressed the importance of being responsive to your customer base and making it easy for customers to cancel your service. Ever try to get rid of a service that you didn’t realize you signed up for and it’s impossible? Well, that company has made a serious error in judgment.

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Friday Forecast: A Modest Proposal - Reach Out and Touch Someone

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jun 2, 2017 10:38:27 AM Brand Marketing

It happens all the time, even for those of us who have been knocking around the direct marketing industry for decades: we meet someone that, in all the years we’ve been at this, have never met. After quickly finding the common intersections, whether they be past jobs or client work or people we mutually know, we find delight in discovering one another, at long last.

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Got Robocalls?

by Bill McClellan on May 31, 2017 9:28:27 AM FTC, Consumer

Our first featured speaker at the Government Affairs Fly-In, Lois Greisman, was incredible and I’m so glad she kicked off our two day conference. As associate director, she currently heads the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Marketing Practices as part of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Under Greisman’s management, Marketing Practices leads the FTC’s law enforcement initiatives tackling telemarketing fraud (including Do Not Call enforcement), fraudulent investment opportunity schemes, and internet frauds, with particular focus on challenges posed by new technologies and convergence issues.

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Friday Forecast: Privacy, Security & The Ghosts of '1984'

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on May 26, 2017 12:38:46 PM Consumer Behavior, Trends

The ramping up of allusions to George Orwell’s legendary dystopian novel 1984 really began in earnest when Edward Snowden revealed the degree to which the American government was surveilling its citizens. But since Donald Trump assumed the office of the United States presidency, such references to the literary classic have revolved more around the notion of Thought Police and Thought Crimes and the idea that the powers that be are manipulating a narrative in order to deceive the public.

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Highlights From the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on May 25, 2017 4:37:51 PM Advocacy

Yesterday ERA wrapped up the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In and we could not be more excited for next year! The Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C. is an opportunity to establish or maintain your presence as an industry leader, as well as network with other DR industry leaders.

Over the last couple days, attendees had the opportunity to personally meet with congressional and regulatory representatives to talk about the issues most important to our industry, actively participate in the legislative process, and gain insights on upcoming policy changes that could affect their business.

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.