Lord and Taylor was in some hot water earlier this year. They were facing scrutiny from the FTC for some social media and blog posts that they paid to be a part of, but it wasn’t necessarily clear that they had paid. The case in question is about a marketing campaign for a brand L&T launched in 2015, known as Design Lab. They had a great marketing plan which included a multimedia approach, including paid blog posts and editorials on fashion websites. One thing in question was by the well known Nylon magazine included an article and an Instagram post that had no indication that it was paid for. In addition, L&T also gave 50 fashionable social media users a free garment and then paid them anywhere from $1,000-$4,000 to make a social media post about the dress, but these posters did not say they were paid to do so. This social media campaign led to more than 328,000 brand engagements and the dress in the photos sold out easily. Thus, the FTC charged Lord & Taylor, not Nylon or any of their social media posters, with failing to disclose that it was advertising.
How can businesses avoid this type of scrutiny? As affiliate marketers, we are often not 100% in control of how people represent our brands. Even so, it’s pretty easy to avoid this type of scrutiny, especially if you create a culture of disclosure in the information you provide to affiliates about how to represent your brand, and you can even make disclosure in native advertising and social ads such as the ones created by Lord & Taylor a part of your terms and conditions. This may protect your brand from anyone who doesn’t follow these guidelines, should the FTC come your way. In addition, you can let your affiliates know just why it is so important to follow these guidelines, and let them know that this information and the requirements are coming from the FTC.
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