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Substantiation Basics

As a marketer, you may have yet to face having a claim in your advertising and marketing challenged by your competitor or consumer. But those marketers who have experienced the need to produce claims substantiation proof post hoc know that it is far, far better to think about how you can prove it before you make a claim rather than after you are called out to produce your substantiation.

First, keep in mind that there are two types of claims: explicit and implied. An explicit (or expressed) claim is made when you say the claim directly; an implied claim can exist when the claim isn't said directly, but a "reasonable person" could assume it based on other statements you have made, or images you have used. But there's the trap: Who is a "reasonable person"? Think hard and carefully about what implied claims might exist to consumers.

Thankfully, not all claims require substantiation. For instance, "puffery," which includes "exaggerated blustering," commonly accepted truths, and "many people" statements are claims that do not require substantiation. Puffery is acknowledged to be obvious hyperbole and not objectively measurable.

Short answer: it's the law. The Lanham Act of 1946 is the federal statute that governs trademarks, service marks, and unfair competition (including advertising regulation). Administered by the Federal Trade Commission, the Lanham Act's purpose is to prevent false and misleading advertising as well as to

And then we have the courts, where advertisers, competitors, and consumers always have the option to challenge ad claims. The results of individual lawsuits become case law, affecting the future rules of the game, and can also impact what marketers are required to do to substantiate an ad claim.

The ad claims landscape is complicated, and developing and documenting substantiation is rarely easy. Marketers must develop effective (and proven) ad claims with strict coordination of all of the parties involved, including the brand managers, R & D, the creatives, media, and, of course, the lawyers. Making sure that everyone understands what the consumer wants, how the message will be delivered, and how the claim will be proven if challenged will ensure ad claims that work.The claim will be proven if challenged will ensure ad claims that work.

Watch for the next blog for a Better Way to Develop Effective (and Bullet Proof) Ad Claims: The Claims Co-Creation Workshop!

Need ad claims substantiation? Contact Research America’s experts today!

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