Where Should a Disclaimer Go in Your Ad?

Disclaimers Are Necessary to Protect Everyone!


You’ve heard them, seen them, read them. And they are necessary so as not to deceive the valuable customers you are trying to reach.

A couple examples:

If you hear an ad on the radio for a product that promises two-day shipping, you may hear a disclaimer (usually at the end in hyper speed) that states that “Two-day shipping only applies to U.S. residents.”

To be clear, if you need the brand spankin’ new and improved, whiter, brighter product shipped all the way to Timbuktu in Mali, Africa, you’re not going to get it in two days. You can’t take action against the seller or the radio station because they told you that the two-day shipping only applies to people who live in the U.S.

If you hear a radio ad for some new medication that obliterates migraine headaches, you are going to hear a terrifying list of potential side effects at the end of the ad (faster than most humans can talk) and advice to consult your doctor before trying the product. You can’t say you weren’t warned! The disclaimer protects the station and the advertiser, as well as the consumer.

In today’s crazy world we have disclaimers telling men that if you’re taking a male enhancement drug, you better not take it if you’re pregnant!  What? Makes no sense at all but that’s disclaimers, right?

“A radio ads disclaimer is for the purpose of limiting legal liability, protecting rights, and separating the ad from the platform, just like all other disclaimers. It protects both the advertiser and the customer, and even the radio station. It does this by preventing the customer from being able to sue the company for false information. Also, it keeps the customer safe because the ad cannot include deceptive material. Basically, a radio ads disclaimer is there for the benefit of everyone involved.”

So what do you need to do to make sure that your disclaimer is appropriately placed?

Most advertisers place them at the end of their spot so that they can capture people’s attention first with an emotional reaction to their product or service.

Another place for the disclaimer is at the beginning of the ad where they play the voice over artist at an incredibly high rate of speed so people can’t really make out what’s being said. Then you get into the attraction part of your spot message, i.e. the story and the emotional connection, etc.

Personally we feel that it’s kind of repelling to run it at the beginning because nobody knows what you’re even talking about yet. And it creates kind of a sleazy and maybe even deceptive sales approach to your ad spot. It’s much better to incorporate your disclaimer throughout, or in the middle of, or at the end of the ad, so everybody knows what’s being disclaimed.

Because, after all, don’t you care about the people that might be hurt by your product or service? You don’t want to cheat them of information they may need to know, correct?

Quick review:

A disclaimer is a statement designed to limit legal liability.

Advertising disclaimers help give potential customers the full story about a product or service.

The FTC enforces most laws related to advertising disclaimers. Simply put, the FTC requires that you’re not deceptive in your ads.

If you want some good advice on where to run your disclaimer, whether at the beginning, middle or at the end of your ad, we would be glad to assist you. Call us at 800-208-7154 or fill out the contact form.

By Sean Pearce and Pete Miller

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