New Foley Hoag Partner August Horvath Shares His Views On Advertising Law And Why You Might Not Want To Watch TV With This High Flier

We are very excited to welcome August Horvath as a partner and Co-Chair of the Advertising & Marketing practice group in Foley Hoag’s New York office. August’s practice primarily focuses on representing clients in false advertising and deceptive trade practices ligation before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state Attorneys General and the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. August counsels clients on a variety of marketing, advertising and antitrust issues. The complete press release announcing August’s arrival is available here.

We sat down with August to ask him questions about his interest in advertising law, and to get his input on important trends facing marketers today.

Q: How did you get into advertising law?

A:  I came to law out of academe, where I studied media and communications, but it was too ivory-tower. In my legal career, I wanted to get practical, to be close to the things that affect all people and to see the results of my work in the world around me. Working for brands, and helping clients shape their marketing messaging (while at times beating adversaries’ messaging into shape) gave me that chance. I’m a bore to watch TV with, because every day is the Super Bowl for me; I’m more focused on the commercials than on the programming.

Q: What brought you to Foley Hoag?

A: I wanted a firm with a great brand, positioned to grow in the advertising and marketing law area and also in my second focus, antitrust and competition law. I knew some of the partners as colleagues and could see that the firm’s culture was like that of some of the best firms I’ve worked with.

Q: What are the top advertising law trends to watch for in 2018?

I expect government enforcement to be more focused on social media, building on the FTC’s Instagram influencer enforcement actions of 2017. In private disputes, class-action plaintiffs will continue to mine the food area for cases. A new word may replace “natural” as the marketing claim of choice. Some of my clients have hinted to me what the next hot litigation word in food cases might be, but I’m not leaking it publicly! NAD is at a crossroads, where it must cope with new leadership, the increasing cost of participating in a NAD action, and an FTC that seems less likely to follow up on many NAD-referred matters that provide the teeth to NAD’s decisions. We might start to see more competitor Lanham Act actions as an alternative.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a lawyer?

I love to think, write and speak (especially argue), and I’m sure that if I weren’t a litigator, I’d find some other outlet for those things. I might be a professor or a writer of some kind. I also love tinkering and making things with my hands, whether it be playing with electronics or fixing antique cameras, and a part of me will always regret not becoming a “real” (as opposed to social) scientist or an engineer. I grew up with a passion for airplanes and spacecraft, and I still take every opportunity to go look at unique planes at airports, museums or whatever.

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