Advertising and Marketing

With a national, full-service team, Venable’s advertising and marketing attorneys provide pragmatic, actionable advice and winning strategies for establishing, protecting, and growing your unique brand.

As avenues of marketing and communication continue to emerge and evolve, Venable attorneys have the experience and connections needed to keep you fully informed in virtually every area—from social media, sweepstakes, green marketing, and gift cards, to product placement, traditional television advertising, and more. Whether you’re defending your brand-leader status or just entering the market, our attorneys can help identify and avoid the legal pitfalls between you and consumer engagement.

We know how to keep campaigns out of the regulatory eye, mend a broken compliance program, or navigate the difficult choices that come with balancing risk and reward. If you find yourself in the regulatory or class action bullseye, Venable has broad, deep, and successful experience resolving these problems.

While we are zealous advocates for our clients, we also believe that open lines of communication are essential to resolving differences. We frequently collaborate with our regulatory and self-regulatory counterparts to provide insightful commentary on industry issues. These close working relationships help us build connections that can be critical in resolving enforcement actions amicably.

We believe a few hours of prevention are worth countless hours of cure. This is why we put such emphasis on providing proactive counseling to our clients. When needed, however, Venable has the bench strength to represent clients in any type of contentious setting, in an efficient and coordinated manner. As one of the leading law firms handling government enforcement actions and private litigation matters, we’ve won precedent-setting decisions in Federal Lanham Act and state advertising cases, and secured wins and favorable settlements in regulatory matters where new statutes are first enforced.

Venable’s team of trial lawyers has litigated advertising matters and achieved favorable results in state and federal courts against private companies. We also have significant experience representing clients before regulators like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other regulatory agencies, such as state attorneys general and state district attorneys. Further, our team represent numerous clients in disputes with competitors before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

With partners in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC, as well as throughout the mid-Atlantic, Venable represents clients in all areas of advertising and marketing law, including:

  • Claim substantiation
  • Content marketing
  • Sweepstakes, promotions, loyalty programs, and gift cards
  • Native, influencer, and social media-based advertising
  • Marketing contracts, including agency, talent, co-promotion, endorsement, and sponsorship contracts
  • Distribution counseling, including minimum advertised price (MAP) and other price advertising, Robinson-Patman compliance, warranties and guarantees, and labeling
  • Advertising and intellectual property litigation, including brand protection; International Trade Commission; class action; defense against regulatory action by the FTC, other federal regulatory agencies, state attorneys general, and California district attorneys; as well as emergency preliminary injunction motions and requests for temporary restraining orders, which are important remedies in competitive advertising
  • Bringing and defending challenges before the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ industry self-regulation programs, including the NAD and ERSP

Experience
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  • Representing one of the fastest-growing fashion apparel brands that markets almost exclusively through Instagram, in a non-public investigation by the FTC regarding its shipping claims and practices and potential violations of the Mail, Telephone, and Internet Order Rule. Our representation also includes counseling related to a social media influencer program; price and sales policy; marketing and billing practices; sweepstakes; negotiating releases and other contracts with its models and other talent; litigation (e.g., a TCPA class action and a vendor dispute); and a revenue deficiency assessed by the U.S. Postal Service
  • Representing a payment processor in litigation brought by the FTC against the company and several of its former clients, which has broad import for the remedies available to the FTC with a decision that marks a significant development in FTC precedent. The FTC alleges that the former clients deceptively marketed online discount clubs and billed consumers without authorization. The FTC also alleges that the client, by processing the charges associated with this activity, also violated the FTC Act. Our team drafted several motions challenging the FTC’s claims, and the court indicated that it was intending to grant our motions. The judge agreed, and is permitting the FTC to amend its complaint before dismissing the case
  • Represented a French multinational food products company in a challenge to a competitor’s ad campaign attacking our client’s use of sucralose in its yogurts. The ads claimed that sucralose “has chlorine added to it” and used imagery of a swimming pool and a woman throwing the product away, to convey that our client’s product is dangerous to consumers. The New York federal judge ruled in favor of our client, issuing a preliminary injunction ordering the competitor to pull all advertising. Venable put a stop to the campaign in an expedited 22 days, preventing it from continuing to air publicly
  • Advised an American supermarket chain on state and local law regulating item pricing as part of the retailer’s implementation of a loyalty rewards program, with a focus on laws requiring listing of “dual prices”—different prices for loyalty customers and “regular” prices, as well as receipt itemization requirements. Massachusetts in particular has passed a very detailed law in this area, and several states have brought enforcement actions involving price advertising and loyalty programs, which is an increasingly active enforcement area

Recognition
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  • Recognized by Law360 as the 2017 “Consumer Protection Group of the Year”
  • U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Law Firm of the Year” in Advertising Law, 2011 – 2012, 2014
  • Ranked in 2019 U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”
    • Tier 1 Advertising Law (National)
    • Tier 1 Advertising Law (DC)
  • Recognized in Chambers USA, Advertising: Transactional & Regulatory, National, 2016 – 2019
  • Winner of the 2011 and 2010 Chambers USA Awards for Excellence in Advertising and Marketing
  • Ranked among the nation's top advertising and marketing firms in Legal 500, 2016 – 2019
  • Named "Advertising Law Firm of the Year" in Washington, DC, Global Law Experts, Client Choice Category, 2014
  • Attorneys with top rankings by:
    • Chambers USA
    • Legal 500
    • Best Lawyers