Archive for November, 2011
Montana’s Attorney General, Steve Bullock, told the attendees at our Marketing Law conference to “keep things personal” when designing promotions and marketing practices.
“Remember who the AG offices are working to protect and keep a local mindset,” he said. “Always be thinking whether a practice is deceptive or whether it is fair.”
Mr. Bullock, who also serves as Co-Chair for the National Association of Attorneys General, said, “Even if your customers are spread across the states, act like you’re still working in a town of 900. Remember that the people coming to the AG offices that were deceived by problematic marketing practices are somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s neighbor or somebody’s family member.”
While he explained the NAAG mandate to assist in communications between Attorneys General, he characterized an Attorney General’s basic role as “protecting their states and communities”. He also made it clear that, with the help of the NAAG, multi-state actions often arise. “Policy and politics are local,” said Mr. Bullock, “but if it’s happening in Montana, it’s probably happening elsewhere. Multistate actions can be beneficial for the consumers as well as you and your business.”
In the end, he reminded the audience why their companies should stop to ask if a practice is fair or deceptive at the outset. “By weeding out and exposing businesses that don’t play by the rules, we benefit all those businesses who act fairly, make good products and try to keep customers happy.”
FTC Commissioner Julie Brill told our Marketing Law Conference audience that severe harms can result from the vast collection of personal data by advertisers in the age of new media.
Commissioner Brill, one of the nation’s foremost advocates for privacy and consumer protection, specifically warned that sensitive information – including matters of health, finance and sexual orientation – is too often collected today; intentionally or unintentionally. According to Brill, “Even though data is often de-identified, it has been shown how easily much of it can be re-associated; especially if it was collected through a smartphone.”
She went on to illustrate the risks associated with voracious data collection, retention and use. “If advertisers hold on to data for an unarticulated future use,” she said, “the impact of a data breach is heightened in direct proportion to the amount of data collected.” She urged companies to responsibly destroy data in a timely fashion.
Data combination, sometimes known as “Big Data”, was also cited as a risk by Commissioner Brill. She said, “I’m concerned about such predictive data being used for thing like determining life expectancy or in place of traditional credit reports and impacting credit, employment, housing and insurance.”
Other areas covered in the commissioner’s address included her review of the 2010 FTC report on the new privacy framework and do-not-track regulations, ongoing enforcement of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the agency’s revised guidelines on endorsement.
Throughout her address, Commissioner Brill called for robust protection of data and increased transparency from advertisers and reminded the audience of the trust placed in them by consumers. “Trust is the backbone of marketing,” she said in closing. “Consumers must trust what they see, trust what they hear and trust what’s being done with the information they share. The consumers are relying on me and I am relying on you.”
There were few complaints when the Day One agenda ran long by nearly an hour here at the Chicago Marriott.
The overflow crowd was treated to a beefy agenda that seemed to satisfy attendees of every description. After Bonnie Carlson’s introduction, the morning was highlighted by addresses from Davis & Gilbert’s Ron Urbach and Linda Goldstein of Manatt.
With the help of some Hollywood-worthy production, Ron took the audience on a survivalist’s trek through the desert while revealing the “Five Simple Truths” necessary for forward thinking companies to survive amidst changing technology and consumer behavior. (See News Coverage Here)
Linda’s presentation, entitled “What’s New in the Game Today” and not without some audio-visual magic of its own, shed new light on the constantly evolving legal issues surrounding sweeps, contests and promotions conducted on new media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and employing technology like QR codes. (See the news coverage here)
Other highlights of the day, included the luncheon keynote from the FTC’s Charles Harwood and former FTCer Pamela Jones Harbour, the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards, and a truly remarkable offering of panel discussions featuring industry heavyweights discussing issues ranging from corporate social media policies to ambush marketing.
When PMA CEO Bonnie Carlson took the stage this morning to review her organization’s first 100 years, she found herself speaking to an overflow crowd in a Chicago hotel ballroom. In fact, she later confirmed that this year’s Marketing Law Conference is the largest to date with more than 600 attendees from law firms, corporations, agencies and service providers.
Ms. Carlson opened an agenda populated by speakers representing the Federal Trade Commission, several state Attorneys General and the leading practicioners in the industry. She got the ball rolling by celebrating the contributions of the marketing law profession over the last century while presenting thumbnails of some of the landmark cases that have shaped today’s marketing and promotion landscapes.
On a more serious note, Ms. Carlson also used the occasion to call on the attendees to oppose ICANN’s top-level domain name program (for more info, see the PMA site http://www.pmalink.org/.
In closing, she promised the PMA “will continue its advocacy over the next 100 years.”
The 33rd Annual PMA Marketing Law Conference is getting underway in Chicago with this evening’s networking and socializing.
If you were not able to join us this year, there is no reason not to stay on top of the agenda through the end of the proceedings. PMA Centers of Excellence will blog throughout two full days of presentations in an effort to serve our membership and our industry. We will also tweet continually and invite your tweets and re-tweets under the #pmalaw11.
Tomorrow’s afternoon program kicks off with the PMA Lifetime Achievement Awards honoring Steven Durchslag, Felix Kent, Joseph Silverman, Charles Wesley Dunn and Frank Dierson. But don’t wait until lunch to check in with our social media outlets. The morning agenda includes the PMA’s Bonnie Carlson, Ron Urbach of Davis & Gilbert LLP; and Linda Goldstein of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP among many others. So there should be a lot to share before the award ceremony and the Luncheon Keynote from Pamela Jones Harbour and Charles Harwood.
The full agenda is available here http://www.pmalink.org/events/event_details.asp?id=159973 We look forward to keeping in touch frequently from Chicago.
The 33rd Annual PMA Marketing Law Conference is rapidly approaching, and now is the time to make sure all your travel arrangements and hotel accommodations are in place…and to register if you haven’t already done so! This year’s event is shaping up to be the best yet, with in-house counsel and legal representatives from close to 90 of the world’s top brands, as well as attorneys and business professionals from dozens of leading law firms and marketing agencies. The 2011 conference will provide not only amazing networking opportunities with the industry’s leading professionals, but a chance to learn about all the current legal issues in areas that are important to you: social media, mobile marketing, online group coupons/deals, location-based apps, “green” marketing, behavioral advertising and online privacy, IP, sweeps/contests, sports marketing, international promotions, and many more! You will also receive a comprehensive 1600 page conference workbook in hard copy (binder) or flash drive form, a great reference tool to add to your law library. Plus, this year we’ll be concluding the conference with an exciting “Mock Trial of Promotional Mishaps” before a leading federal judge. If you haven’t already registered, please come join us for what will be the industry’s largest and most valuable advertising and marketing law conference of the year. Click here to view the incredible agenda and to find out more about registration and hotel arrangements.
Also, be sure to continue checking the PMA blog and Twitter page (@thePMA) in the upcoming weeks and especially during the conference, where we will be posting updates highlighting the most exciting events and presentations. We encourage attendees to become a part of the conversation by posting comments or tweeting to #pmalaw11 – your feedback is important to us!
We look forward to seeing you in Chicago on November 15!
33rd Annual PMA Marketing Law Conference
November 15-16, 2011
Downtown Chicago Marriott/Magnificent Mile
540 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
*If you have any questions about the conference or registration, please call Ed Kabak at (212) 340-0083.