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Did The FTC Just Open Up Even More of a Slippery Slope on Disclosure?

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As our brother blog AgencySpy reports, it seems there is even more muddiness around the FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which were recently updated to include social media channels.

Case in point: the above Tweets by tennis star Serena Williams. Williams has been a celebrity brand ambassador for Nabisco for more than a year. And one of her Tweets does state that she is “shooting a campaign” for the brand. However, not all of Williams’ 1 million plus followers may know that she is a paid endorser, especially if they see the second Tweet out of context.

Richard Cleland, Assistant Director of the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices, told AgencySpy: “Although we do not generally comment publicly about ongoing advertising campaigns, it seems pretty clear that Serena Williams’ tweet about Nabisco Calorie Pack is sponsored advertising. (She says that she is shooting a campaign for Nabisco). When it is clear from the context of a communication that the celebrity is being paid, an additional disclosure is not required.”

It seems the takeaway here is: you have to disclose, except when you don’t have to.

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