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What constitutes valid and legal use of testimonials and quotes?

EricEric subscriber Posts: 8
edited April 2006 in Marketing
Here`s the situation. The product that my brother and I have invented has now  been available for about a year. During that time we have been to several trade shows and it has done well.  During that long period of time we have heard a lot of great things. Often times we would write down an interesting quote or comment from passers by and say "hey that was a good one" let`s keep it. For instance "Well, that`s slicker than greased elf$#*% !"
So we have this very cool collection of "things heard" at trade shows around the country about our product. Just yesterday our "marketing guy" (he`s not professionally trained and this is his first retail product. Don`t get me started I`ll explain all of that in another post someday) drops this bomb on me saying that we can`t use any of those quotes on the web site because they constitute a testimonial and that there are legal guidelines that have to be followed.
1) If we do not list the name of the person OR the name of the show. Can we legally have a list of "things heard at tradeshows about our product on the web site?
2) If not, why not? 
3) What is the wording behind this law? Is there a good work around?
4)Who is the authority that enforces such guidelines and what is the procedure?
5) Can anybody give me an actual example of where this law has been enforced and a company was penalized with a fine or other court enforced judgement?
We now use a release form for endorsements and media that will allow us to use the name of the person making the statement but we basically are starting at square one again! Ugh.


  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Never heard of such a law and I`ve been a marketing guy for over 16 years. I would say that if you stated in print (marketing materials, whatever media) that "this is what people are saying about ........", you are OK - but of course, you would not have anyone`s name attached to those statements. Ergo, to me, these statements don`t carry much weight - especially when compared to a REAL testimonial from a REAL customer.
    Personally, I see no value in stating, "this is what people are saying about XXXX" or anything like that statement. Now REAL testimonials on the other hand are proven that they work.
    Why not contact purchasers from the past year and ask them if they like your product and would they make a statement - for the record? The biggest obstacle I have encountered with testimonials is most people don`t want to write anything - like a letter. I think this is because most people just don`t like to write at all - or just don`t feel they are good at it. One method I use: take their verbal words from a conversation, write it up, let them approve it for a testimonial. I have never been turned down. If they say they will give you a testimonial, most will agree for you to use it in marketing materials. Of course, be up front and let them know how it will be used, where, when, etc. - the more info you provide them, the more comfortable they will be. Plus, send them the piece their testimonial is in - people love to see their name/photo in print. Their 15 minutes of fame.
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