Why the Kardashian-Jenners Got Called Out On Their Instagram Ads
An advertising watchdog agency noticed they weren't being 100 percent clear about their sponsored content.
The Kardashian-Jenner clan is really into health and fitness, which is a big part of why we love them. And if you follow them on Instagram or Snapchat (as most of the social media world does), you've probably noticed that they post about all types of products regularly, from health and fitness related ones to fashion and makeup brands. Until recently, however, many of their paid posts were flying under the radar in a not-so-cool way. In lots of their sponsored endorsement posts, there was no indication that they'd received payment for their snap or Instagram. In fact, you might have even thought they featured those fitness teas and waist trainers they were raving about out of the goodness of their hearts. That's why advertising watchdog agency Truth In Advertising put them on notice last week, publishing a miles-long list of all the recent sponsored posts, in which they failed to mention any kind of advertising disclosure. They also published countless screenshots of those undisclosed posts on their website, one of which is below.
So how can you tell if a post is sponsored or not? The Federal Trade Commission set guidelines back in 2015 for paid social media endorsements, stating that when a celebrity or influencer is paid to promote a product, it must be clearly disclosed within each post. Not only should the disclosure be "clear and conspicuous" but the advertiser and promoter should use "unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They should not have to look for it." In other words, if it's an ad or sponsored post, it needs to be very obvious easy to identify. As you can see in the image above, Khloe's post makes no mention of a paid deal with Lyfe Tea. One of the simplest ways to be clear about a sponsorship is to add hashtags like #ad and #sponsored, which is what most celebrities, influencers, and brands end up doing on their social channels. After getting called out, the Kardashian-Jenners added the hashtags #sp and #ad to all their recent paid posts.
The Kardashian-Jenners are nothing if not business savvy, so they must have realized that the legal implications of failing to disclose their sponsorship would be worse than just taking two seconds to add some hashtags to their posts from now on. Interestingly, the FTC also says that if you're paid to endorse a product, your endorsement must reflect your actual, truthful experience with that product. You can't review or post about a product you've never tried, and you shouldn't agree to a paid post for a product that you don't think works. Since the Kardashian-Jenners seem to be attempting to follow the guidelines, it would follow that they stand behind the brands they promote. Unfortunately, experts say that products like fit teas and waist trainers aren't really effective.
Bottom line: while it's great to draw inspiration from celebrities' workout routines and nutritional plans (you can read What We Love Most About The Kylie Jenner Diet here), you might want to look extra carefully at the research behind any health or fitness products anyone promotes before trying them out yourself, epecially if they're earning major cash to do so.