Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Beware Influencers for Sale

The Federal Trade Commission isn't keen about marketers who truck with shady social media influencers, as two recent cases illustrate.

In November, it slammed ad agency Deutsch for misleading consumers after a rabid junior account exec persuaded fellow employees to use their personal Twitter accounts to broadcast ringing endorsements of Sony's PlayStation Vita game console.

The employees failed to disclose they worked for Deutsch or that Sony was a client, and the FTC ruled their tweets could reasonably be understood as the genuine opinions of consumers.

This month, the FTC charged online network Machinima with consumer deception because it paid two influencers $45,000 to post videos on YouTube that endorsed Microsoft’s Xbox One. Like Deutsch's employees, the two influencers failed to disclose that their seemingly authentic opinions were anything but.

Machinima had guaranteed Microsoft 19 million views of the videos.

Unfortunately, one originated within the FTC.
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