Review of marketing materials regarding claims: the netherworld of law department roles and priorities

A profile of General Mills’ top lawyer, Rick Palmore, refers to the significant amount of time his 50-lawyer team spends on checking advertisements and other marketing materials. The three-page profile is in SuperLawyers, Bus. Ed. 2011 at 221.

The decision whether a claim made for a cereal or other product will hold up to challenge, from competitors and regulators, falls partly on the lawyers and partly on the product development staff. It is one of those grey areas where the proper role of the legal department depends on too many factors to make any “best practice” call (See my post of Aug. 5, 2005: so-called pre-law groups including those who check promotional material; Dec. 3, 2007: rollout of new product requires marketing review; Dec. 17, 2008 #1: software to check promotional material; and Jan. 20, 2009: sometimes lawyers oversee marketing review personnel outside the law department.).

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