TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced a
settlement agreement which mandates that a media marketing and advertising group may no longer misrepresent their corporate associations. The companies must accurately disclose to clients what they can expect in terms of media coverage and airing of their advertisements.
Platinum Television Group, Inc., and New Line Media Solutions, Inc.
produced infomercial-style television shows which were aired on national
and regional television networks. Potential clients nationwide were
solicited by “creative directors,” who were actually salespeople that
persuaded businesses to sign contracts with the companies. For a licensing fee of approximately $20,000, the businesses were told that a short
five-to-seven minute advertisement featuring the business would be produced and inserted into Platinum’s programming. The businesses were usually told that the show would air on both national and regional broadcast networks.
An investigation by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division
determined that the companies often misrepresented sponsorships by national companies such as Microsoft and Home Depot, claiming these sponsorships paid for the production and airing of the subject programs. Platinum and New Line also falsely announced the participation of “Advisory Boards” consisting of members from institutions such as MIT and Harvard’s Business School. The companies fraudulently implied that clients would be receiving multiple national airings of their spots when this was a highly inaccurate representation of the actual media coverage anticipated.
Under the agreement signed with the Attorney General’s Office,
Platinum and New Line are prohibited from having their salespersons
identify themselves as “creative directors” or imply that they are
responsible for the creative content of any television show or production.
The companies cannot represent themselves as national news, cable or
broadcast network nor claim they are associated with any such network.
Additionally, Platinum and New Line must refrain from announcing the
existence of “Advisory Boards” unless the boards actually exist and provide input and advice on a continuing basis. They must also specifically
disclose to potential clients the exact number of national airings the
client’s feature advertisement will receive, the approximate time the spots will be aired, and the networks which will carry the shows.
In addition to altering their business practices, Platinum and New
Line must pay $100,000 in restitution to current clients with existing
complaints and must make an additional $75,000 available to resolve
consumer complaints filed within 30 days of the agreement date. The
companies will also reimburse the state’s cost of the investigation.