The FTC and Influence Marketing: The crackdown begins

Influence marketing and native advertising are gaining popularity as brands continue to shift away from “interruption marketing” and embrace a more customer-centric approach. But in trying to sell without selling, it’s possible brands have made the “soft sell” a bit too soft, disguising advertising as organic influencer posts.

Smart marketers have been extra vigilant about disclosure since the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued an enforcement policy last December. Actually, the truly smart have been tightening up their own disclosure requirements since the FTC updated its online advertising disclosure guidelines in March 2013.

The threat’s been building for years.

The agency’s been beating the drums for a while. Statements, letters and guidelines have warned marketers and bloggers of the oncoming campaign against sponsored content that doesn’t look sponsored: social media posts that don’t clearly state that they’re contest entries, influencer posts that don’t disclose that the influencer received compensation from the brand, etc…..

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