Saturday, July 30, 2016

Free Delicious Gelato: Happy Anniversary, Iorio!


Along with quite a few other people, we had a free dish of gelato
today in honor of Iorio's Gelateria's five years in business in Ann Arbor.
Scooping the gelato is fun to watch. Upper right: Mary and Nick Lemmer, owners of Iorio's. Mary invited me to the event.
I not only enjoyed a free small dish of key lime pie gelato and lemon blueberry gelato, I also tasted a number of flavors including sassafras (tastes like root beer), Earl Grey tea (tastes mostly like bergamot), whiskey with something, vanilla-rum, and a few others. I'm very enthusiastic about these flavors and what I tasted at Iorio's today. So glad they held this promotion and invited me to join in!

It's not often that I receive something free that I want to blog about, but recently (before I heard about the free gelato day at Iorio's) I was trying to inform myself about the FTC rules for endorsing products that you get for free. The rules are pretty clear: today I wasn't actually required to "disclose" anything: "If you mention a product you paid for yourself, there isn’t an issue. Nor is it an issue if you get the product for free because a store is giving out free samples to its customers." 

The FTC makes one thing extremely clear: "Truth in advertising is important in all media, whether they have been around for decades (like, television and magazines) or are relatively new (like, blogs and social media)." There are quite a few situations when "full disclosure" is needed, and it's not always given. Some of the blogs I read follow FTC rules scrupulously, while others aren't particularly careful about admitting that they promote products that they get for free.

Here is an FTC guideline that I think we all could live by when accepting a gift, no matter how small:
The question you need to ask is whether knowing about that gift or incentive would affect the weight or credibility your readers give to your recommendation. If it could, then it should be disclosed. For example, being entered into a sweepstakes or a contest for a chance to win a thousand dollars in exchange for an endorsement could very well affect how people view that endorsement. Determining whether a small gift would affect the weight or credibility of an endorsement could be difficult. It’s always safer to disclose that information. 
Also, even if getting one free item that’s not very valuable doesn’t affect your credibility, continually getting free stuff from an advertiser or multiple advertisers could suggest you expect future benefits from positive reviews. If a blogger or other endorser has a relationship with a marketer or a network that sends freebies in the hope of positive reviews, it’s best to let readers know about the free stuff.
For a detailed list of questions and answers about blogging or using other social media in exchange for free stuff, see this document from the FTC: "The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking."

12 comments:

Beth F said...

That gelato would be very welcome in this heat!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

And in any event, in most gelato stores, they do provide free tastes of any flavor you want to try, so it doesn't seem like in this particular instance, it could present a problem.

Mae Travels said...

The free tastes, as you say, are always available at ice cream stores. But yesterday the entire dish was free to celebrate their anniversary!

Tina said...

Key lime, I'm on board with that! Never had any flavor except chocolate and I loved it, loved the texture.

Vicki said...

I've only tried gelato once, at my daughter's house. I liked it.

Johanna GGG said...

Interesting post - from time to time I hear of outrageous lack of disclosure but I never come across this on blogs I follow! And I have only had a handful of freebies in my time as a blogger and I wonder if I have been a bit brutally honest with them :-)

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Whenever we travel, we always try to find the local gelato place. My sister-in-law is good at tracking them down.

Katherine P said...

We have a gelato place in town that's amazing but I don't get there very often. I have a few errands to run today and you've inspired me to stop in!

Claudia said...

I'd like a nice dish of key lime gelato, or any of the flavors you mentioned! I did make some passionfruit cream sorbet though, which is pretty darn good.

Carole said...

Free gelato! Whoohoo Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

My Cozy Book Nook said...

Key Lime Pie gelato sounds perfect on this hot summer day.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love a good gelato--both the key lime pie and lemon blueberry sound delicious. ;-)