Why Marketing Teams Need to Work Closely with Lawyers

A Guide to Avoiding False Advertising and Legal Pitfalls

As a growing business, your marketing team is essential for getting the word out about your products and services. However, they must work closely with lawyers to avoid any legal implications arising from false advertising. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why having a lawyer on board is crucial for startups and businesses and how it can save you from potential losses. So let’s dive in!

Introduction to False Advertising

False advertising is any misleading, deceptive, or untruthful information presented in promotional materials. It can lead to dissatisfied customers, damaged brand reputation, and ultimately, legal repercussions. In India, false advertising is governed by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which aims to protect consumers from unfair trade practices, including misleading advertisements.

Legal Implications of False Advertising

When a business engages in false advertising, it not only harms the consumers but also attracts legal penalties. Here are some of the legal implications that businesses may face due to false advertising:

  1. Monetary penalties: The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, empowers the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to impose penalties on businesses found guilty of false advertising. These penalties can range from INR 10 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs, depending on the severity of the offense.
  2. Imprisonment: In some cases, those responsible for false advertising may face imprisonment, ranging from six months to five years.
  3. Cease and desist orders: The CCPA can issue cease and desist orders, forcing businesses to stop airing misleading advertisements immediately.
  4. Damage to brand reputation: False advertising can lead to a loss of trust among consumers, damaging a company’s reputation and hurting its long-term growth prospects.

Startups and the Importance of Legal Counsel

Many startups and businesses often overlook the importance of having a lawyer on board. They may view legal counsel as an unnecessary expense, especially in the early stages of their business. However, this mindset can prove costly in the long run. Here are some reasons why startups should prioritize legal counsel:

  1. Preventing legal issues: A lawyer can identify potential legal pitfalls and help businesses navigate complex regulations, reducing the risk of lawsuits or regulatory penalties.
  2. Drafting contracts: A lawyer can help startups draft contracts that protect their interests, ensuring that they have the proper legal framework in place for their business relationships.
  3. Intellectual property protection: A lawyer can help startups protect their intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights, which can be crucial for their success.
  4. Compliance: A lawyer can help ensure that a startup’s marketing and advertising efforts comply with relevant laws and regulations, preventing costly mistakes that could harm the business.

How Lawyers Can Help Marketing Teams

A close collaboration between marketing teams and lawyers can bring immense benefits to a business. Here’s how lawyers can help marketing teams avoid false advertising and its legal implications:

  1. Reviewing marketing materials: Lawyers can review marketing materials to ensure they are compliant with applicable laws and do not contain any misleading or deceptive claims.
  2. Providing guidance on advertising regulations: Lawyers can educate marketing teams on advertising laws and regulations, helping them understand the legal boundaries they must operate within.
  3. Assisting with disclaimers and disclosures: Lawyers can help marketing teams draft appropriate disclaimers and disclosures for advertising materials, reducing the risk of false advertising claims.
  4. Navigating comparative advertising: When marketing teams engage in comparative advertising (i.e., comparing their product or service to a competitor’s), lawyers can provide guidance on how to do so legally and ethically.
  5. Handling consumer complaints: If a consumer complaint arises due to an advertisement, a lawyer can help address the issue and mitigate any potential legal consequences.

Real-life Examples of False Advertising and Legal Consequences

To understand the importance of lawyers in marketing, let’s look at some real-life examples of false advertising and the legal consequences businesses faced:

  1. Reebok’s EasyTone shoes: In 2011, Reebok faced charges from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for making deceptive claims about its EasyTone shoes. Reebok claimed that the shoes could help wearers tone their leg and buttock muscles more effectively than regular shoes. The company eventually settled the charges by agreeing to pay $25 million in consumer refunds.
  2. Nestle’s Maggi Noodles: In 2015, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned the sale of Nestle’s Maggi Noodles, alleging that the product contained excessive levels of lead and violated labeling regulations. The company faced significant losses and damage to its brand reputation. Maggi Noodles eventually returned to the market after court-ordered tests found the product to be safe for consumption.
  3. Airbnb’s hidden fees: In 2018, the European Commission warned Airbnb that its pricing practices, which included hiding additional fees until the final booking stage, were in violation of European Union (EU) consumer rules. Airbnb eventually made the necessary changes to its pricing practices to comply with the EU regulations.

These examples illustrate the potential legal and financial consequences of false advertising and emphasize the importance of having lawyers work closely with marketing teams.


In conclusion, marketing teams and lawyers need to collaborate closely to avoid false advertising and its legal implications. Startups and businesses that overlook the importance of legal counsel risk facing significant losses, both in terms of financial penalties and damage to their brand reputation. By working together, marketing teams and lawyers can help businesses navigate the complex world of advertising regulations, ensuring that promotional materials are accurate, compliant, and ultimately, effective in driving growth.

So, if you’re a startup or a growing business, make sure you invest in legal counsel and foster a strong working relationship between your marketing team and lawyers. This collaborative approach will help you avoid legal pitfalls and contribute to your long-term success.

Book a free advisory call with us to get a legal roadmap for your startup today!

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