Advertising Opinions

33 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020

See all articles by Ahmed E. Taha

Ahmed E. Taha

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

John V. Petrocelli

Wake Forest University

Date Written: 2020


Advertisements of many goods and services feature testimonials from consumers who have had atypically positive experiences with them. However, substantial evidence suggests that consumers often erroneously assume that advertised atypical results are typical. Thus, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) requires advertisements of atypical results also to disclose the typical results. However, the FTC has created an exception for advertisements featuring atypically positive opinions regarding a product. The exception exists because the FTC assumes that consumers believe that advertised opinions only necessarily represent the opinions of the people expressing the opinions, not the typical consumer opinion regarding the product. To test the FTC’s assumption, we conduct two controlled experiments. We find evidence that, contrary to the FTC’s assumption, consumers often believe that an advertised opinion is the typical consumer opinion. In addition, we find evidence that requiring these advertisements to also disclose the typical consumer opinion would cause consumers to greatly discount advertised atypical opinions.

Keywords: advertisements, atypical, consumer, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, opinions

Suggested Citation

Taha, Ahmed E. and Petrocelli, John V., Advertising Opinions (2020). Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2020, Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020/29, Available at SSRN:

Ahmed E. Taha (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

John V. Petrocelli

Wake Forest University ( email )

2601 Wake Forest Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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