This week the FTC settled charges against Lord & Taylor from alleged deceptive native advertising during its March 2015 Design Lab social media campaign. http://1.usa.gov/22h3sJ7 A big takeaway from this settlement is the FTC’s position that a company not only has to comply with the Native Advertising/Endorsement disclosures on its own social media platforms, but also has to ensure (by contract and monitoring) that its paid endorsers make the requisite disclosures on their own social media posts.
For its sales campaign, L&T focused on one product, the Paisley Asymmetrical Dress, to flood the Internets. The native advertising included:
- L&T gave the Dress to 50 select fashion influencers (what a job!) who were paid $1,000-$4,000 to post pictures of themselves on Instagram wearing the Dress. By contract, L&T required them to use “@lordandtaylor” and “#DesignLab” in the posts. The contract did not require the influencers to disclose in their postings that they had been compensated by L&T. L&T pre-approved each of the posts to ensure use of the user designation and hashtag. None of the posts had any endorsement disclosure and L&T did not add any.
- L&T contracted with the fashion magazine Nylon to run an article with a picture of the Dress, which L&T pre-approved. L&T did not require Nylon to disclose the relationship in the article.
- L&T also contracted with Nylon to post a picture of the Dress on Nylon’s Instagram page; again, no disclosure requirement.
The campaign was a huge success; it reached 11.4 million Instagram users and produced over 300,000 brand engagements; and the Dress sold out in days. But while women everywhere said yes to the Dress, the FTC said bad to the ads. (more…)