Truth in Advertising Org Threatens to Report Kardashian/Jenner Family to FTC
Have you ever scrolled though your Instagram feed and stopped on an image of one of the Kardashian/Jenner sisters (yes, it’s ok to admit that you follow one, if not all of them) posing with some new fit tea, hair pill, or waist trainer? Was the photo perhaps missing a clearly visible sponsored content label?
Chances are your answers to both of these questions are yes, which is why the famous celebrity clan has been warned that if they don’t remedy their deceptive advertising practices in a week, a formal complaint will be filed with the FTC.
— Her Campus (@HerCampus) August 7, 2016
On August 17, Truth in Advertising.org sent the family’s matriarch/mom-ager, Kris Jenner, and 27 companies–including Puma, Calvin Klein, JetSmarter, Fit Tea, LuMee, and Balmain–a letter notifying them about the deceptive marketing campaigns. The nonprofit reviewed accounts for Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, and Kendall, and found “a plethora of posts that do not clearly or conspicuously disclose their relationships with the companies being promoted in the posts as is required by federal law.”
We intend to notify the Federal Trade Commission that these individuals and companies are engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns unless, by August 24, 2016, the issues described above are fully corrected by clearly and conspicuously disclosing that all applicable posts – past, present, and future – are paid advertisements or the result of material connections between the Kardashian/Jenner individuals and the companies featured in the posts.
Read TINA.org’s letter to the Kardashian-Jenner family here.
The sisters, who have a combined Instagram following of more than 316 million, reportedly make an upwards of $300,000 per sponsored post. According to TINA.org, youngest sister Kylie had the most problem posts, followed by Kim. Also, Puma, with which Kylie has an endorsement deal, lead all companies in improperly marked paid content with 13 posts.
While the girls have occasionally used tags such as #sp and #spon to mark their sponsored posts, the FTC told Bloomberg the subtle disclaimer isn’t enough. Using the hashtag #ad is okay, but only if it’s at the beginning of a post.
Since receiving the letter, the Kardashian-Jenners have already begun retroactively amending posts to contain #ad at the end. However, since the number of impressions garnered on a post significantly decreases after the initial posting, this remedy may be a waste of time. On August 24 it will be interesting to see if TINA.org is satisfied with changes, or if the group decides to move forward with filing an official FTC complaint.