False Advertising and Celebrity Endorsements: Where’s My Script?

Anita M. Moorman

Celebrity endorsements in the sport industry continue to increase both in number and value. For example, sport celebrities ascribe their names to such products as soap, soda, cars, underwear, financial planning services, internet services, bubble gum, and a host of sport specific products (shoes, apparel, sports equipment, etc.). These product endorsements can earn a professional athlete substantial sums of money, and for many professional athletes they can actually earn more from endorsements than their player salaries or earnings. However, endorsements are a form of advertising subject to the regulation and oversight of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Section 12 of the Federal Trade Commission Act declares unlawful the dissemination of false advertisements, by certain means, which are likely to induce the purchase of food, drugs, devices, services, or cosmetics. 15 U.S.C. § 52. The dissemination of such false advertisements is an unfair or deceptive act.