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FTC Approves Deceptive Advertising Settlement

May 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved final consent orders settling charges that Nissan North America Inc.and advertising agency TBWA Worldwide Inc. deceptively advertised a Nissan Frontier truck pushing a dune buggy up a steep hill, something the truck actually cannot do.

First announced in January 2014, the settlements prohibit Nissan and TBWA Worldwide, which designed the 30-second television ad for the mid-sized truck, from misrepresenting any material quality or feature of a pickup truck through the depiction of a test, experiment, or demonstration. The orders do not prohibit the use of special effects and other production techniques as long as they do not misrepresent a material quality or feature of the pickup truck.

The commission approved the final order by a four-to-zero vote. Commissioner Terrell McSweeny did not participate in the vote.

Also last week, the FTC approved final consent orders involving 10 dealers’ deceptive advertising. The cases were part of Operation Steer Clear, a nationwide sweep focusing on misleading advertising associated with the selling, financing and leasing of motor vehicles. Auto-related complaints remain one of the Top 10 complaints received by the FTC, and the sweep was part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers in the auto marketplace, agency officials said.

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