March 24, 2016 – The FTC alleges that Lord & Taylor placed a Lord & Taylor-edited paid article in Nylon Magazine and a photo of the retailer’s Design Lab Paisley Asymmetrical Dress on Nylon’s Instagram site. Over the same weekend Lord & Taylor gave 50 influencers a free Paisley Asymmetrical Dress and paid them between $1,000 and $4,000 each to post a photo of themselves wearing it on Instagram or other social media site. Lord & Taylor contractually obligated them to use the “@lordandtaylor” Instagram user designation and the hashtag “#DesignLab” in the caption of the photo they posted. The company pre-approved the article and posts but provided no indication to consumers that the article and posts were paid advertising placed by Lord & Taylor.
The FTC is definitely targeting advertisers who do not comply with its new Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements released Dec. 2015.
PRO TIP: Use the FTC’s business guides, including Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses, to avoid placing misleading or deceptive advertising.