Digital Disclosure: Factoring the Law into your Branding Strategy

On the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website, it says “Protecting American Consumers.” This agency was created over a century ago to fostering competitive prices for high-quality goods or services. It may be fair to say that many marketing professional are mainly focused on company/client-centered goals, sometimes without clearing certain tactics with their company’s legal department. Thus in the digital age, sponsored mobile posts have become a lucrative business up until recently with little involvement from the FTC.

Unintentionally, the following examples references the Kardashian-Jennifer clan for sponsored posts. You can’t knock the amazing hustle and bustle from this family!

On one particular episode of her reality show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, Kris Jenner asked her daughters Kim and Khloe to not only do another post on Hairfinity, but fly out to London for a premiere. This made me pause because the middle Kardashian sister spoke to Adweek in 2015 stating her Instagram account was “promo-free” telling the magazine, “I know a lot of my brands might get frustrated that I don’t promote maybe as much as they would like, but I only do it if it’s authentic.”

What does this mean? If celebrities are already the “face” of a brand, should they have to disclose each post with a #spon or #ad tag?

Recently Kim’s sister, Kourtney, has promoted her Instagram with Fit Tea posts.  Many celebrities and influencers have done posts for the Fit Tea brand.  This brand may not feature Kourtney as their “face” but Kourtney made sure this post was clearly stated it was a paid post.  Many other influencers probably are now probably becoming  more familiar with guidelines to sponsored posts. Kylie Jennifer, sister of Kourtney and Kim, also posted about Fit Tea back in April, without tagging it as an ad while Kourtney’s recent July post about the brand included the ad tag.

Kourtney’s Kardashian famous ex-boyfriend/father to her three children, Scott Disick was in the news earlier this year for reportedly copying and pasting an entire email from a sponsor, Boo Tea UK, on exactly what to say in his Instagram post, without deleting the directions on what to post from the sponsor:

Scott Disick gaff
Image courtesy of Instagram via Buzzfeed

In the digital world, this is a BIG deal as it shows the secret exchanges behind this promotional posts.  It would appear that celebrities don’t have to do anything but simply post to social media.  It would appear there is no requirement of some influencers to even be a user of the brand.  Would this change the view of the people they are trying to “influence”?

Going back Kim’s Adweek interview, it seems now as if Kim is more actively involved with her posts to be more organic to her audience compared to Disicks’s disregarded fluke of a post on how to type a genuine Instagram promotion to his following.  Disicks’s mishap is also not a good look on Boo Tea UK’s part either.  It shows little regard from the brand about having the influencer being true advocates for their product, they are only a means of advertisement.   There is also little regard from the influencer on if they make a mistake as they’re rich they can make mistakes and “hope” no one remembers them.  Not anymore as only one simple internet search can reveal a life’s timeline.

Influencers receive so many views a day that they can leverage their profiles, or ad space with “product placements” a.k.a sponsored ads. Them doing so requires the influencer to notify their following visibility in doing so unlike actual product placements where there is a process to get a product featured on a television show or movie. This also leverages competition and informs the viewers that while influencers may post about certain brands, they are paid to do so that the public can use their judgment whether or not to purchase the product. Seems pretty fair in case an audit is done on both the brand and the influencer.

As always with changing times comes changing/new laws however we follow people based on how we like them/their content they publish for the world to see. Do you think sponsored ads would change how you’re influenced by your favorite celebrities? What could sponsored ads say about an influencer’s brand?

Here is a little digital disclosure for all of my readers: Today marks 6 months since I’ve given birth! It has truly been an amazing experience thus far, watching my baby girl grow every single day. Mommy loves you Courtney!

The “Beyoncé” of Basketball, For Now

StephCurry
Image Courtesy of Stephen Curry’s Twitter Profile Picture

 

My husband and I were shopping on vacation. Outside a shoe store were samples of the shoes they were selling inside the store. At almost every shoe store there was the blue/white/gold Under Armour® Men’s Curry shoe. After seeing this advertised at the tenth shoe store, we walked passed it only to see a huge wall ad of Steph Curry himself in uniform and a picture of the very same shoe. “In the second quarter of 2015, during the same time frame when Curry won MVP and the Warriors won the title, Under Armour’s basketball shoe sales went bonkers with sales growing by 754% in that category.” (Business Insider, August 2015).

I never took considerable notice before because I’m not a huge basketball fan however brands are willing to jump on the next “IT” player to make their own shoes/sports apparel. Now that I think about it there have been several predecessors before Curry to get their own shoe: Kevin Durant’s Nike KD’s, Penny Hardaway’s Foamposites, Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Shaq Attacks, Kobe Bryant’s Adidas KB8 and of course the many, many styles of Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Jordan’s; just to name a few.

All of these current/former players are, or were at some point, star players in the NBA. Some were even featured multiple times with several SKUs of shoes (i.e. Michael Jordan). They’ve set records and done it in their own style, leading shoe brands to take notice. Who wouldn’t want their shoe to be worn by the hottest/highest scoring MVP player in the league, on television?! Feet are a major ad space for a professional athlete, and rightfully so as these sponsorships are costing companies millions for a star player to be the face of a brand.

Brands will spend major dollars on other advertising avenues to make sure they make millions: billboards, TV, radio, magazines, blogs, etc. Everyone brand wants to top the Nike Air Jordan’s and Nike has to consistently stay relevant with their releases. Now that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavilers are the latest champions, we may be expecting a different shoe on the market from one of the stars on that team.

I must give credit to my husband for coming up with the title of this blog.  Thanks D 🙂

2012 Women in PR Summit & Retreat Overview

I attended the 2nd Annual Women in PR Summit & Retreat.

My main purpose in going: to learn more about the public relations industry and to network with great professionals already in the industry. I was more interested in the panelists and the different panels more than anything.

There has been a lot of backlash about this event due to scheduled keynote speaker Kelly Cutrone deciding not to come. I had already signed up for this conference before the organization brought Kelly Cutrone on board. Although I was really excited to see her and hear what she had to say, it was NOT my only reason for coming.  Don’t pay money for a full conference if you are interested in only one part.  If that’s the case, try to reach out to that one person you are there to see.

There has been a few people asking me about the entire situation and I’m not sure why because I don’t speak on behalf of any of these two parties.  I would encourage others to continue to follow this story and wait to hear official statements from BOTH parties.  I respect Kelly Cutrone but I also respect and admire Anje Collins for wanting to help others in the industry and I thank her for all that she has done for the organization’s members.

What is your opinion about this situation?  Please respect other people’s comments, you are entitled to your opinion.