Advertising and sponsored content

Paid announcements and activities, in order to persuade people to buy products or services

Can become disinformation when used to harm, to mislead or without a real context

False advertising

Volkswagen clean disel campaign

The Federal Trade Commission has charged in March 2016 that Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. deceived consumers with the advertising campaign it used to promote its supposedly “clean diesel” VWs and Audis, which Volkswagen fitted with illegal emission defeat devices designed to mask high emissions during government tests.

The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Volkswagen to compensate American consumers who bought or leased an affected vehicle between late 2008 and late 2015, as well as an injunction to prevent Volkswagen from engaging in this type of conduct again.

L’Oréal deceptive anti-aging and gene boosting claims

Cosmetics company L’Oréal USA, Inc. was charged by the FTC of deceptive advertising about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products. L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that these products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes. 

In national advertising campaigns that encompassed print, radio, TV, Internet, and social media outlets, L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique products were “clinically proven” to “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins that would cause “visibly younger skin in just 7 days,” and would provide results to specific percentages of users. For Lancôme Génifique, the ads claimed they "crack the code of youth". When challenged, L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims and in 2014 settled the case with the US regulator, BBC reported.