What do you and the 2001 film “Legally Blonde” have in frequent? You’re dwelling in an period of fraudulent influencer advertising. And litigation is on the rise.
The well-known scene in “Legally Blonde” unfolds as Harvard’s authorized clinic shopper, Brooke Taylor Windham, reveals from jail to regulation college underdog Elle Woods that Windham didn’t obtain her coveted physique from her health lessons, however from liposuction. Fast ahead 22 years, and we’re experiencing main déjà vu amid the “Raw Meat Influencer” a/ok/a “Liver King” litigation concerning his steroid use.
The Raw Meat Influencer, in any other case generally known as Brian Johnson, claimed fame in 2021 by consuming an almost uncooked steak day after day. Generating an unlimited fanbase by his primitive weight loss plan and attaining a ripped physique, Johnson did what most influencers do and launched his personal complement model. As the face (and physique) of the product, fan gross sales minimize the Raw Meat Influencer a examine of greater than $100 million in gross sales per 12 months. But, like Legally Blonde, the Raw Meat Influencer made a confession of his personal. His outcomes had been attributed to his $11,000 month-to-month funding in steroids. A $25 million lawsuit adopted.
Let’s discuss regulation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has its eye on influencer advertising. Just final month, the FTC launched an replace on tips on how to correctly disclose partnerships in influencers’ campaigns. Influencers ought to now not merely use a hashtag – #advert or #sponsored – to securely money their marketing campaign checks. Here are two main takeaways from the FTC’s November 15 warning letters to the 2 commerce associations and twelve influencers.
Writing #advert or #sponsored someplace in the caption shouldn’t be sufficient. Regulators now need disclosures superimposed onto image and movies. Why? Because viewers typically don’t learn the caption in its entirety (if in any respect). This requires aesthetic and branding issues, however artistic challenges are this business’s bread and butter.
Second, merely together with #advert or #sponsored (or utilizing Instagram’s “Paid Partnership” function) in the caption typically doesn’t sign the model the influencer is working with. A comfortable cabin photograph exhibiting the influencer sipping on a cup of tea offers no indication of what the sponsored model or product being marketed is. Clearly state the model in the audio/video/textual content portion of the submit to keep away from confusion or nondisclosure.
There’s excellent news, although. Protection from this artistic nightmare is accessible. Having a authorized associate who can assessment an influencer contract or marketing campaign settlement is vital. Your experience in content material creation assembly an lawyer’s expertise in avoiding authorized points means you will get again to creating, and sure keep away from litigating.
This weblog was drafted by Natalie Soas Washington, an lawyer in the Spencer Fane Dallas workplace. For extra info, go to spencerfane.com.