Brands Still Fail to Ensure Disclosure of Sponsored Content on Social Media

The rise of fashion industry influencers has been accompanied by a surge in advertising law violations, from left, right and centre. Micro- and macro-influencers and small and established brands are routinely breaching the law failing to disclose sponsored content.

Fashion’s most successful personal style bloggers and major fashion and cosmetics brands, alike, are at the center of a truly massive deceptive marketing scheme – ‘Influencer Marketing’ – that has the effect of misleading consumers.

The Consumer and Markets Authority (UK), The Federal Trade Commission (USA) and the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Nework have recently carried out investigations into the industry practices and issued the guidance for brands and influencers. All three agencies clearly put the responsibility to ensure the disclosure on brands. Despite that, most so-called influencers are still failing to disclose sponsored content.

Brands are failing to disclose their ads

The number of brands whose practices fall outside of the CMA and FTC’s guidelines on proper disclosure is nothing short of overwhelming. TheFashionLaw have named and shamed the biggest brands. The brands at issue are categorized according to the main hierarchy (Exemplary, Above Average, Average/Below Average, and Least Commendable).

Exemplary brands

These brands/companies ensured that bloggers/influencers properly disclosed paid-for 0r otherwise compensated posts nearly 100% – if not 100% – of the time.

Aquatalia, Chanel, and Kenzo.

Influencers and brands disclosing sponsored posts
Image: Instagram

Above average

These brands/companies rank highly in that the vast majority of their postings by bloggers/influencers were properly disclosed, save for some exceptions, which took the form of improperly placed (and thereby, obstructed) disclosures.

HP, H&M, Amazon, Schutz, Sezanne, Armani, Sephora, Burberry, Lord & Taylor, Prada, and Essie.

Influencers and brands disclosing sponsored posts
image: Instagram

Below average

These brands/companies are the ones that enabled bloggers/influencers to utilize potentially improper disclosure language such as, “#RMPartner” for Rebecca Minkoff, “#SWCollab” for Stuart Weitzman, and “ThanksCK” for Calvin Klein.

Rebecca Minkoff, Tory Burch, SKII, Michael Kors, Maserati, Lexus, Vera Bradley, Grey Goose, Pantene, Tresemme, Benetton, Aldo, Oribe, Style Code Live, Marc Fisher, Moet, Veuve Clicquot, Stuart Weitzman, Calvin Klein, and Coach.

Influencers and brands disclosing sponsored posts
Image: Instagram

Least commendable

These brands/companies rank extremely poorly in terms of disclosures; they seem to either fail to educate influencers regarding the need to disclose and/or fail to monitor such postings. Save for one blogger/influencer, Bryan Boy, absolutely none of American Express’s posts are disclosed. Jimmy Choo had bloggers tag (presumably paid-for) travel photos with #ChooTravels, yet all lacked appropriate disclosure in connection therewith. Lastly, hotels, such as Park Hyatt and Leading Hotels of the World, among others, are particularly gross examples of non-disclosing entities in connection with bloggers/influencers.

American Express, Jimmy Choo, Park Hyatt, Velocity App, Ormana, Macy’s, Homeaway, L’Oreal, and Leading Hotels of the World.

Influencers and brands disclosing sponsored posts
Photo: Instagram

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