Difference Between False Advertising & Puffery by Erika Waters,1 Demand Media The difference between puffery and false and false advertising is the difference between legal promotion and illegal marketing claims. Puffery is a legal way of promoting a product or service through hyperbole or oversized statements that cannot be objectively verified. On the other hand, false advertising occurs when factually false statements are used to promote a product. For example, stating that a car gets 35 miles per gallon when it actually only gets 30 mpg is false advertising. Objective vs. Subjective The biggest distinction between puffery and false advertising is that puffery is subjective while false advertising consists of objective statements. Objective statements are statements that can be verified. Stating that nine out of 10 dentists prefer a certain toothpaste is an objective statement because it can be verified. On the other hand, stating that a toothpaste is the "world's favorite" is a subjective statement because it is so outrageous that no one would believe it to be factually accurate. As such, this subjective statement is mere puffery. Examples of Puffery There are many examples of puffery. It is used in almost every type of advertisement. In 2000, Pizza Hut brought a lawsuit against Papa John's challenging whether Papa John's advertisements were puffery or false advertising. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals considered Papa John's ad that stated "Better ingredients. Better Pizza." The court's judgment found that that statement standing alone was not a verifiable fact that would be relied upon by consumers and, therefore, was mere puffery. Examples of False Advertising False advertising is very serious and legal action may be brought against the offending company. False advertising consists of factual statements that are deceptive and are factually incorrect. For example, stating that a knife is so sharp it can cut through stone would be false advertising if it can be shown that the knife is not actually that sharp. This statement would be considered false advertising because it is deceptive, factually inaccurate, and a consumer would reasonably rely upon it in making a purchasing decision. Regulatory Agencies If a product or service is being promoted through false advertising, there are several regulatory agencies that can respond to such claims. The Better Business Bureau can handle complaints relating to false advertising by companies and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission handles false advertising claims on the federal level. The FTC will not respond to individual claims, but it may consider claims as part of a larger pattern of false advertising. 1 Erika Waters is a business lawyer licensed to practice in California. She has experience working with nonprofits including Teach for America, as well as entrepreneurs and startups. Waters has contributed to several blogs, including the Business & Media Institute and other online publications and has worked as an editor for an academic publication. Soft News and Feature Stories “The Profile” is about an individual. “The News Feature” focuses on a topic of interest in the news. It often covers the same subjects as deadline hard-news stories, but does so in greater depth and detail. “The Spot Feature” focuses on a smaller aspect of a deadline hard-news event. They are often used as “sidebars” to the “mainbar.” For example, if a sandstorm hit Kuwait, the mainbar would cover the five W’s and the how of the story. “The Spot Feature” would describe an emergency shelter or perhaps look at the history of severe weather in Kuwait or even report on the weather conditions that lead to the sandstorm. “The Trend Story” examines popular things or ideas. Fashion, websites, tech gadgets, music film, etc. It takes the pulse of the culture at the moment. “The Live-In” is an in-depth, often magazine-length article that paints a picture of a particular place and the people who work or live there. These aren’t travel articles. They aren’t looking to sell a trip. Instead they can be done on homeless shelters, emergency rooms, cancer hospices, schools, police precincts, battlefield encampments. The purpose is typically to give the reader insight into a place they probably wouldn’t normally visit. Puffery – noun – exaggerated commendation especially for promotional purposes; The newspaper’s local stories are often thinly disguised puffery for area businesses. Puff Piece – noun informal – a newspaper article or item on a television show using exaggerated praise to advertise or promote a celebrity, book, of event. A Champion and A Racket Roger Federer's sweet forehand and court smarts have made him one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world. Roger Federer - The Beginning Born on August 8, 1981 in Basel, Switzerland, Roger Federer began playing tennis when he was eight years old. By the time he was ten, people were already talking about Roger's sweet touch with the racket and his competitive attitude. Roger would sometimes beat other kids his age so badly they would start crying and Roger would often cry and smash rackets himself if he ever lost a match. Roger left home when he was 13 to train at a top-rated tennis academy in Switzerland and was the number one ranked junior player in the world by the time he was 16. Roger Federer - The Swiss Master In 1998, Roger Federer began playing on the professional tennis circuit. He won his first ATP tournament in Milan in 2001 and quickly worked his way up the men's world tennis rankings. In 2003, he won six tournments including his first Grand Slam tournament by defeating Mark Philippoussis at Wimbledon. By 2004, Federer was the number one ranked tennis player on the planet and won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments that year including Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open. Federer has since gone onto win twelve more Grand Slam titles, bringing his grand total up to 13. Roger has won the US Open five times and the Aussie Open, three times. The only major tournament that he has not won is the French Open in Paris. Roger Federer - The Best Ever? Roger Federer's professional tennis career is still quite young, but some are predicting he could beat Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam tennis titles in 2009. Federer is an extremely intelligent tennis player who's known for his dominating forehand and rarely making mistakes on the court. He has already won 13 Grand Slam titles and his smart, consistent play means he'll be a favorite to win several more before his career is over.