To debut its Design Lab collection, Lord & Taylor paid 50 bloggers to style and post the same
ugly paisley dress on instagram. The dress sold out in less than a week.
The FTC* requires bloggers to disclose when they are writing about (or sharing photographs of) products they have been gifted or paid to promote. None of the 50 originally disclosed the relationship. Some later edited their posts to include disclosure hashtags like “#ad” or adding “sponsored.”
Are these girls unethical bloggers or simply uninformed bloggers?
Fashion blogs began as a way for the common girl to showcase her personal style, whether her fashion approach was common or unique. Real girls sharing their wardrobes and daily style are now very influential in the fashion world. Brands increasingly use bloggers in their campaigns and to promote items. Whether bloggers are promoting items just to earn blogging bucks, one sure thing is that bloggers are not always following the law.
As of yet, bloggers have not gotten in trouble for violating the FTC disclosure guidelines, so the penalty remains unclear. With marketing increasingly relying on social media to promote products, I would not be surprised if these FTC violations soon receive a crackdown as when online music piracy was tackled.
Should Lord & Taylor be accountable for not requiring their campaign participants to attach an FTC disclosure?
* The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces consumer protection laws and regulates commercial conduct.