Patriotic (and Truthful) Marketing: Substantiating a 'Made in USA' Claim
ACCA Docket pp 92-105.
June 2002
Howard Beales III, Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in November 2001, “American consumers are more sensitive than ever to claims that a product is ‘Made in America.’” Consumers are not the only ones. The statement is a clear indication that the FTC is focusing attention on this issue, which should not come as a surprise as more companies drape their products with the American flag in response to increased consumer demand for products of American manufacture following the tragic events of September 11. This surge in patriotic marketing also reflects the strength of the “Made in America” designation as a marketing tool that can legitimately drive sales. The problem for marketers and in-house counsel alike, however, is that it is not always easy to distinguish products that are made in Mexico from products that are made in New Mexico. Under the law, a single foreign component of an otherwise Americanmade product may be enough to make a “Made in USA” claim deceptive. Then again, it may not. The law in this area can be difficult to apply.