FTC Warns: If That Tweet Is Sponsored, You Better Say So!

Wouldn’t it be great to know if that celebrity you follow on Twitter REALLY loves the hair product they’re always gushing about or if they’re being paid to say so?

Well, if you’re someone influenced by such things, you’ll be glad to know the FTC is about to crack down on sponsored tweets.

And if you’re a marketer, you’ll want to take a peek at this puppy too. Regular folk are expected to follow FTC guidelines as well.

MSN reports the Federal Trade Commission has updated its endorsement guidelines, officially called Dot Com Disclosures and there are some specific updates to be aware of.

Disclosures “must be clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view the ad.” And “if an advertisement without a disclosure would be deceptive or unfair, or would otherwise violate a Commission rule, and the disclosure cannot be made clearly and conspicuously on a device or platform, then that device or platform should not be used.”

Yikes! Looks like you’ll be using up a lot of Twitter’s character limit to disclose creatively or will just have to go with the straightforward “sponsored” tag. THAT will hurt sales, I’d imagine!

And there don’t appear to be any loopholes. Under the 2000 guidelines advertisers merely needed to “draw attention to” disclosures, under the new guidance disclosures need to be “as close as possible” to the relevant claim. So listing that some tweets are endorsements in your bio won’t cut it, sly fox – and neither will sending a separate tweet.

Like the original guidance, the updated Dot Com Disclosures calls on advertisers to avoid using hyperlinks for disclosures that involve product cost or certain health and safety issues.  The new guidelines also call for labeling hyperlinks as specifically as possible, and they caution advertisers to consider how their hyperlinks will function on various programs and devices.

The new guidance points out that advertisers using space-constrained ads, such as on some social media platforms, must still provide disclosures necessary to prevent an ad from being deceptive, and it advises marketers to avoid conveying such disclosures through pop-ups, because they are often blocked.

So no tricky links either? Joy of joys!

But how effective are celebrity endorsements anyway, you may be wondering? According to MSN, very:

Several months ago, MSN Money cited an example of how pop star Justin Beiber’s turnaround on Uggs boots — and his tweet about how he liked them — may have helped that company’s fortunes.

Which celebrities do you think are ruining their fake eyelashes with messy ‘poor me’ tears right about now?

(Sponsors image from Shutterstock)