Broadcasters are used to providing sponsorship IDs for broadcast commercials. This is just a reminder that if you are using influencers on your podcasts or social media platforms, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you provide information about the relationship between the influencer and the brand they are marketing.
Last June, the FTC issued a new set of regulations governing endorsements. The FTC has noted:
“If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship (“material connection”) with the brand. A “material connection” to the brand includes a personal, family, or employment relationship or a financial relationship – such as the brand paying you or giving you free or discounted products or services.
Telling your followers about these kinds of relationships is important because it helps keep your recommendations honest and truthful, and it allows people to weigh the value of your endorsements.
As an influencer, it’s your responsibility to make these disclosures, to be familiar with the Endorsement Guides, and to comply with laws against deceptive ads. Don’t rely on others to do it for you.”
According to an article in Inside Radio, the FTC has ramped up its enforcement and issued a warning.
“The FTC targeted social media posts that the American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and the Canadian Sugar Institute sponsored but whose posts by the influencers failed to adequately disclose as sponsored content.”
The FTC’s rules would apply to a station’s digital podcasts where the influencer has received a benefit from the brand or product. However, they would also apply if an influencer discussed a product on the air as part of a “live read.” If the influencer, e.g., DJ, is receiving some form of compensation directly from the advertisers, it must be disclosed. Of course, the obligation is on the influencer. Alternatively, if the station (not the influencer) is paid to broadcast a “live read” advertisement, then under FCC rules, it needs to be clear from the context of the live read that this is a sponsored advertisement. Stations should be aware the FTC is focusing on this issue and should be careful with “live read” advertising for a product or brand.
You can access the FTC’s general requirements here.
You can access a brochure outlining the regulations here.
You can access the FTC’s detailed guidelines here.
A good article outlining the issue in Inside Radio can be found here.