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Advertising Context: Really the 2nd Most Important Thing with Advertising Claims for Digital Marketing Compliance?

Posted: February 8, 2023

Yes, Context is the 2nd Most Important Thing With Ad Claims for Digital Marketing Compliance

Context is closely related to the net impression(s) of your advertising claims.

For example, think headlines for your website, sales pages or titles for sales webinars, each of which probably contains ad claims promising some specific result or benefit.

Previously, we discussed the net impression (or consumer takeaway) of ad claims.

We've also discussed the FTC requirement for substantiating net impression.

So far, so good.

What is website context that affects marketing compliance?

But what about the context surrounding these specific ad claims?

This would include the remaining text on your website or sales page that relates to your specific ad claims.

In addition, it would include the slides and commentary of your sales webinars, as well.

Spoiler Alert: the context surrounding your ad claim is just as significant regarding FTC advertising guidelines as the ad claim taken alone

Example: Papa Johns famous slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza”.

Papa Johns was sued in federal court by Pizza Hut claiming the slogan was false advertising.

Papa Johns argued that the slogan was non-actionable puffery (essentially an exaggeration that reasonable consumers would not rely upon), but Papa Johns lost the argument in the trial court.

On appeal, the 5th Circuit ruled that the slogan, when taken alone, was puffery.

But the 5th Circuit also ruled that the context of Papa Johns' related advertising campaign contained factual elements that were measurable which caused the slogan to cross the line from non-actionable puffery to an actionable ad claim that was not substantiated by Papa Johns.


The context of an ad claim can trump the ad claim itself under FTC advertising guidelines.

That's why context is the second most important thing for advertising claims.

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