Yesterday FishbowlNY told you about Ashton Kutcher guest editing an issue of Details, which would be no big deal, but he promoted a slew of products that he invests in without clearly disclosing that to readers.
Apparently – and we missed this yesterday – there was a single line in the introduction of the issue that stated Kutcher was “[Putting] his money where his mouth is, backing many of the companies he champions here.” But that might not be enough, because the incident has now attracted the eyes of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The New York Times reports that by not being more clear about the companies and products he was promoting, Kutcher might have committed a federal crime. Richard Cleland, the FTC’s assistant director of the division of advertising practices, explained:
If you’re out there promoting individual products that you have a specific investment in, it needs to be disclosed. If you have a significant economic investment that is not otherwise apparent, that may potentially affect the credibility of your endorsement, and I see that as a potential problem.
Dan Peres, Editor-in-Chief of Details, is taking the “any press is good press” route regarding Kutcher. He told the Times: