Advertising & Marketing

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  • Named in Best Lawyers Best Law Firms - Advertising Law (National) for four consecutive years
  • The Legal 500 United States 2015 - Top Tier
  • The Legal 500 United States 2014 - Top Tier
  • The Legal 500 United States 2013

Reed Smith has represented clients in advertising, marketing and promotion matters for more than 50 years.

Clients include name-brand advertisers, advertising agencies, production companies, advertising agency networks, talent payroll companies, media companies, technology companies, publishers, film studios, television networks, cable channels, leading trade associations, authors, musicians and celebrities.

Our practice covers areas as diverse as regulatory compliance, consumer protection, intellectual property, celebrity endorsements, rights of advertisers pursuant to SAG AFTRA and American Federation of Musicians collective bargaining agreements, e-commerce, promotions, sweepstakes, contests, event management, sponsorships, product placement, licensing, defamation, invasion of privacy, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and trade association regulation.


We review advertising content and marketing programs to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations:

  • Behavioral advertising
  • Claims (including “Made in the U.S.A.” labels)
  • Cloud Computing
  • Comparative advertising
  • Compliance with advertising codes
  • Consumer credit (including credit reporting, credit billing, and truth-in-lending)
  • Deceptive or misleading advertising
  • Endorsements and testimonials in advertising
  • Guarantees and warranties
  • Guerrilla or "ambush" marketing
  • Infomercials, home shopping, direct response
  • Mobile marketing
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Pricing issues
  • Promotions (including sweepstakes, lotteries, prize draws, competitions and contests, coupons, gift certificates, incentives, premiums tie-ins)
  • Programmatic and real-time bidding
  • Rights of privacy and publicity and "image rights"
  • Social media 
  • Spam and other solicitations over email, fax and telephone
  • Substantiation of claims 
  • Surveys, clinical studies, research
  • Television clearance procedures
  • Trade regulation
  • Use of the terms “free” and “rebate”

We also provide assistance in dealing with media suppliers, production companies, cable networks, fulfillment houses, telemarketing services, product suppliers and ancillary marketing channels.

Dispute Resolution

  • Confidential information breaches
  • Controversies between advertisers or between advertisers and agencies
  • Deceptive or misleading advertising
  • Defending claims, including class actions
  • Freedom of expression and U.S. First Amendment rights
  • Intellectual property infringements, including copyright, trademark and domain names, passing off and defamation
  • Union disputes (actors' and musicians' unions, pension, and health plan disputes)


  • Advertiser/agency contracts
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Joint ventures
  • Licensing, including trademarks, logos, musical compositions and soundtracks, motion picture and television film clips, animated characters, literary works, and other entertainment properties
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • National and global media-buying agreements for both traditional and digital media
  • SAG-AFTRA and American Federation of Musicians collective bargaining agreements
  • Sponsorship and events including major sporting event sponsorships, concert promotions, product placements, commercial tie-ins and sporting events
  • Television and film production contracts

Brand Protection

  • Intellectual property management for trademarks, copyrights and proprietary information
  • Portfolio management incorporating Reed Smith's proprietary Trademark Management Mapping Program
  • Protection and enforcement of rights

Government Regulators

We assist clients in their dealings with regulators, including, in the United States: The Federal Trade Commission, Food & Drug Administration, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Attorneys General and District Attorneys, Alcohol Beverage Commissions, United States Customs, and United States Postal Services; and in the UK: Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Office of Fair Trading.


We advise on compliance with the codes of the numerous self-regulatory bodies in the advertising field, such as (in the United States) the National Advertising Division, Children's Advertising Review Unit, and the National Advertising Review Board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus; and in the UK, bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Portman Group.

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

As the advertising industry's lead negotiators in the United States with regard to the union collective bargaining agreements involving SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians, the firm has experience in:

  • Interpretation of collective bargaining agreements
  • Arbitrations and litigation of labor code disputes
  • Union audits and pension and health disputes
  • Negotiation of agreements with actors and musicians

Global Reach

As founders of the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA), Reed Smith has a network in nearly 50 countries of independent law firms specializing in advertising, technology and media law. GALA allows Reed Smith to provide superior advice and service to global and Internet marketers throughout the world. 

Accolades and Recognitions

Our global Advertising & Marketing practice has received numerous accolades, including:

  • Ranked in Tier 1 for Advertising Law (Nationwide) – U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2015
  • Ranked in Band 1 for Media & Entertainment: Gaming, Social Media & Interactive Content – Chambers UK 2014
  • Ranked in Tier 1 for Media, Technology and Telecoms: Marketing and Advertising – Legal 500 US 2014
  • Recognized for Advertising: Transactional and Regulatory (Nationwide) – Chambers USA 2014

Further, we have been highly regarded by our clients and independent legal directories:

  • "[Reed Smith] maintains a depth of talent across digital concerns, film, TV, advertising and marketing…" – Chambers UK 2013
  • "The team’s bandwidth is reflected in its ability to handle a diverse range of regulatory, transactional and litigation work for advertising agencies and global brands…" – Legal 500 US 2012