Summary: In a recent “Law.com” article titled “Too Big to Succeed: Lessons from the Ye / Adidas Brand Partnership,” Crowell attorneys discuss the unraveling of Ye (Kanye) West’s brand partnerships; particularly with Adidas. In the article, they explore Ye’s partnership deal, how the deal was likely terminated, and what brands need to know to manage
Following Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day, the FTC announced an almost $10 million settlement with Google and iHeartMedia related to their allegedly deceptive past endorsements of Google’s Pixel 4 phone and released the Commission’s annual market concentration analysis of the ethanol production industry. These stories after the jump.…
It’s rulemaking week at the FTC, particularly within the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The agency announced multiple Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for public comment in connection with its October 20, 2022 Open Commission meeting. These Notices and other FTC reports this week touch on fake reviews, illegal fees, protecting older consumers, right-to-repair issues, energy costs, and even funeral services. FTC Commissioners issued a joint statement responding to allegations that its staff traded stocks and funds more than those at any other major agency, while FTC Chair Lina Khan and Department of Justice Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Johnathan Kantor met with European competition officials on regulating digital markets. These stories and more after the jump.…
The FTC is closely watching influencers to remind them to clearly disclose material connections to brands. In June 2017, the Commission settled with a trampoline manufacturer for relying on misleading endorsements and, in March, the Commission sent more than 90 letters to influencers and brands to remind them to clearly disclose relationships. The FTC has now made clear that it will target influencers who fail to comply with its Endorsement Guides. While the FTC had previously settled claims against various advertising networks, advertising agencies, and brands for failing to comply with the Endorsement Guides, the FTC has announced that it has settled its first ever enforcement action against social media influencers. In the same press release, the FTC simultaneously stated that it sent follow-up warning letters to 21 influencers that first received letters in March.
The message is clear: influencers that fail to disclose a material connection to brands do so at their own peril—and brands are responsible for implementing clear measures to make sure that the influencers they work with comply with disclosure requirements. Furthermore, the FTC has also made clear that many commonly used disclosure methods and practices are inadequate in its newly revised Endorsement Guides FAQs. Brands and the influencers they work with should take note of these recommendations and ensure that their disclosure practices comply.
FTC Moves Ahead Enforcing Endorsement Cases
A few months ago, acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Olhausen stated that the FTC should shift focus to cases of actual harm, leaving many to wonder whether FTC would still actively enforce endorsement cases. However, in April, the FTC sent out ninety letters to brand influencers and marketers reminding those influencers and marketers to clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationship to brands. On the heels of these April letters, the FTC filed a complaint and ultimately reached entered a proposed settlement order (“order”) with two brothers that relied on deceptive endorsements and misleading review websites to sell Infinity and Olympus Pro brand trampolines.