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Regulatory Landscape of Advertising in the United States

In the United States, advertising is heavily regulated at the federal, state, and local levels, along with self-regulatory frameworks.
Federal Regulations:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): This is the primary federal body governing advertising, ensuring practices are not unfair or deceptive. The FTC Act specifically targets these practices, and the Lanham Act addresses false advertising disputes among competitors.
Other Federal Agencies: Depending on the product, other agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may also have regulatory authority over advertising practices.
State and Local Regulations:
Each state has its own consumer protection laws, and local municipalities may enact additional restrictions, particularly around pricing and advertising near schools or churches.
Self-Regulatory Frameworks:
Self-regulatory organizations provide additional governance layers, with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the BBB National Programs playing a significant role in overseeing advertising practices and resolving disputes without court involvement.
Key Legal Requirements:
Substantiation: Advertisers must have evidence supporting their claims before dissemination.
Disclosure Requirements: Terms and conditions related to promotional offers like "free" items must be clearly disclosed at the outset of an offer.
Enforcement and Remedies:
The FTC can enforce compliance through various means, including cease-and-desist orders, civil penalties, and corrective advertising mandates to remedy misleading advertisements. State Attorneys General and other local authorities also enforce state and local advertising laws.