Celebrities and athletes have millions of social media followers. So, it makes sense that companies will send free products hoping to see it used in a post. From the Kardashians, to Real Housewives, to actors and actresses fans want to look, dress, eat, and workout like their favorite celebrity. But, do celebrities really use those products or are they paid to post and image of themselves with the product?
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on celebrities who were paid to promote and item, but did not make it clear to their fans they were doing so (Frier & Townsend, 2016). I noticed this first with Kylie Jenner and her sister Kim and a hair vitamin. Both Instagram accounts showed the women with a bottle of Sugar Bear vitamins and discussion about how great the product is for their hair. The Kardashian and Jenner family were called out because they have hundreds of social media images that are “advertisements”. The family then changed their posts and added #ad to let fans know it is an advertisement.
While the FTC requires celebrities to use #ad, #sp, and #sponsored, does this really protect the customer? And, while those hashtags notify fans they are looking at an advertisement, can they really get mad if a celebrity claims a teatox helps them keep their thin figure? In many ways the consumer needs to also use common sense. These celebrities also have personal trainers and chefs to help them keep their figure. It’s not just the tea.
But, giving celebrities free products or even paying them to promote the product on social media is a great marketing tool to reach millennials.
Frier, S. & Townsend, M. (2016). FTC to crackdown on paid celebrity posts that aren’t clear ads. Bloomberg Technology [online]. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-05/ftc-to-crack-down-on-paid-celebrity-posts-that-aren-t-clear-ads