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Comparative advertising is advertising that compares alternative brands on objectively measurable attributes or price, and identifies the alternative brand by name, illustration or other distinctive information.
The regulation of comparative advertisingFederal Trade Commission, the U.S. agency that regulates aspects of advertising practices in the U.S., issued a "statement of policy" about comparative advertising in 1970 that remains the agency's guidelines for comparative advertising.
In short, the FTC approves of such advertising, under certain conditions. At the time, many advertising trade organizations were self-regulating in such a way as to discourage comparative advertising. The FTC's policy over ruled such practices and indicated that "truthful" comparative advertising could serve consumers and should not be discouraged by trade associations.
"Comparative advertising, when truthful and non-deceptive, is a source of important information to consumers and assists them in making rational purchase decisions. Comparative advertising encourages product improvement and innovation, and can lead to lower prices in the marketplace," said the FTC guidelines. "For these reasons, the Commission will continue to scrutinize carefully restraints upon its use."