This is something that we have talked about in the past. FTC recently updated their guidelines, I think we can maybe put a link to download them. It is really a very simple straightforward document. I know you think like, "FTC a regulating body, a government organization, this is going to be this obtuse, long thing that is very difficult to read." It's about eight pages long. It's really simple in plain English, not legalese. They make it super simple to understand what they're saying.
Now, unfortunately there is ambiguity built into the rules. Something that hasn't changed is that if a brand gives you a product or if a brand is paying you, you have to disclose that relationship in some way, shape or form. You have to say that you are working with the brand or the brand gave you that thing. Now, as is always been the case, you do not have to put #sponsored, #ad. There is no requirement to do that, if in the comment, you said, "I'm working with blank brand."
Now, where it gets confusing is that, they don't have a fully clear example of what disclosing the relationship is, so the language is subjective. It is up to their interpretation if they feel like you have disclosed that relationship clearly enough, which is why if all else fails, it is probably just easier to put #sponsored, #ad, and know that you are in the clear. Now, the other thing is on stories or on Snapchat, you can't just disclose that relationship verbally, you have to write it down.
You have to put 'sponsored' or 'ad' or whatever it is, or just disclose the relationship in the story, and frustratingly but true, in every single frame of that story. If it's five frames, if you were going to completely align with FTC regulations, each frame has to have ad, you can't just disclose it in the first one. Look, you can put it small in the bottom. We're in Trump's America, so I would just make sure you put your disclosures on there, especially if you're not a rich white man, who golfs with Trump, I would just be extra special careful. If it's some sort of live stream, you have to mention that is sponsored. You have to mention that it's sponsored periodically, so that people who are joining the live stream at different times, there's not just one disclosure at the beginning.
Now, this is what you would need to do if you are going to 100% align with FTC guidelines. They aren't going after people really aggressively. I haven't heard of Instagram FTC suit in a while that wasn't against Kim Kardashian or something. When they do go after people, generally it's going to be those mega celebrities. Those are the people that they're watching most closely, but I would never work with a brand that told you not to give disclosures.
I have heard of that happening. I've heard of brands encouraging influencers not to disclose. There was an episode earlier this summer, where all these influencers got the Givenchy bag, and I believe Givenchy asked them not to disclose that it was gifted, that's fucked up. Don't do that. Don't let a brand put you in a position of breaking the law because they don't want people to know they gifted you the bag.
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