Posts Tagged: Endorsement

New York AG Gives No Stars To Fake Online Reviews

On November 2, 2018, the New York Attorney General came crashing down on a number of moving services that paid for at least 60 fake positive online reviews posted under the heading “CHECK OUT OUR REVIEWS POSTED BY CUSTOMERS JUST LIKE YOU.”  As a result, the only checking being done will be from the businesses’ bank account when they shell out over $65,000 in penalties and costs.

Fake online reviews have always been the bane of legitimate shoppers.  What’s the first thing you do when you find a snow blower online?  You read the reviews.  How’s about a restaurant?  You read the reviews.  In fact, statistics show that a whopping 88% of shoppers incorporate online reviews into their purchase decisions, and being the lazy consumers that we are, the number one factor is the star rating.  While we think we can weed through the fake and the for real, the bottom line is who the heck knows if Caroline L. from New York, NY really liked her bicycle?  We don’t.  A Harvard Business School/BU report from a few years back states that 20% of all online reviews on Yelp! were fake.  Yikes! (more…)

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FTC 2017: Consumer Protection Year in Review (aka. If you do it, we’ll catch you)

The FTC put out its consumer protection year in review providing a comprehensive list of significant consumer protection developments in 2017.  Let us indulge you with a recap of a few illustrative actions affecting the promotion world.

“Free” Samples

In October 2017, the FTC charged A1 Janitorial Supply Corp. with deceptively calling businesses offering a “free” sample of its cleaning products and then billing them for the samples after shipping.  Hoping that one hand wouldn’t wash the other, the company shipped the goods to one employee (who received the telephone call) but then sent the invoice to another employee.  The FTC alleged that this practice violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR Part 310 and the Unordered Merchandise Statute, 39 U.S.C. § 3009.  A TRO was entered and the case is still pending.

The lesson:  To stay squeaky clean, remember free means free even when it’s B2B. (more…)

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How About Some Updates?

You may or may not have heard of some recent developments in the promotion world.  If you haven’t, great, let me be the first to tell you.  If you have, my update is better.

Endorsements/Influencers

Back in the 1940s, a sociologist named Paul Lazerfield introduced the psychology behind the efficacy of influencers with his theory called “two-step flow of communication,” finding that ideas flow from mass media to “opinion leaders” who distill and pass along information to “opinion followers” with more limited knowledge. Today, this two-step “flow” of communication has become a deluge.  As a result, the FTC and social media sites are taking pains to corral it.

Instagram posted in June a “Why Transparency Matters” blog introducing its upcoming “Paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.  Is it required?  We don’t know.  Instagram promises to release an official policy on enforcement “in the upcoming months.” (more…)

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Some Common Sweepstakes and Contests Questions Answered

Our teachers have told us that there’s no such thing as a bad question.  In that light, I’ve come up with 11 common (simple) questions about running a sweepstakes or contest.  And to prove that there are no bad questions, I’ve also gone ahead and answered them.  Enjoy!

Social Media

Q:        Can we require an entrant to share the sweepstakes on a friend’s timeline to get additional entries?

A:        No.  Stay away from personal timelines on Facebook.

Practice tip: You can ask an entrant to share the sweepstakes link with a friend to allow the friend to enter separately.

Q:        Can we ask an entrant to tweet, retweet, follow a Twitter user, or post an update? (more…)

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Should Influencers Influence Cause Marketing?

To use or not to use a popular marketing tool?  That is the question.  Shakespeare, himself, opted for a popular marketing tool when he cast the famous tragedian, Richard Burbage, for the part of Hamlet.  This was probably a good idea, since according to Wikipedia, the play “has been performed many times since the beginning of the 17th century.”

Engage for Good recently posted “Statistics Every Cause Marketer Should Know.”  The numbers confirm that cause marketing is big, popular, and works.

What studies also show is that cause marketing works when it is genuine and credible.  There is a trust established between the consumer and the brand.  An implicit (or explicit) promise from the brand that its intent is to “do good.”  But the question for brands now more than ever is how to get the word out, and specifically, would a social media influencer’s influence influence the millennials who you want to influence?

Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.”  70% of YouTube subscribers trust influencers’ opinions over celebrities.  And according to one study, on average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing! (more…)

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Please Don’t Endorse Our Product Anymore: The Morals Clause Edition

Unless you’ve Rip Van Winkled for the past month, lost your television/iPhone/iPad, or simply given up on international competitive athletics to instead focus on the Cubbies’ chase for an elusive World Series Crown, you know that US Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “over exaggeration” will cost him over $1 million in endorsement deals. While his contracts with these brands are secret, we can suppose that he’s out because a morals clause was in his contracts.    

A “morals clause” is standard in any endorsement contract. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has said: “Morals clauses have long been held valid and enforceable.” Nader v. ABC Television, Inc., 150 F. App’x 54, 56 (2d Cir. 2005). The seminal case that triggered morals clauses in the entertain industry was that of Roscoe Arbuckle (better known by the improper body-shaming sobriquet “Fatty”), who in 1921 after inking a 3-year/3-million contract with Paramount was arrested on rape and murder charges. While his contract did not have a morals clause, Universal Pictures soon made sure that their talent contracts did. Soon after, moral clauses were often used – and upheld – in the 1950s by Hollywood studios to fire suspected communists. More recently, the issue of moral clauses was raised with Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen and boxer Manny Pacquiao who lost his lucrative deal with Nike. Nike had also previously broken ties with athletes Lance Armstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Oscar Pistorius for their morally-challenging conduct. (more…)

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