The Kardashians Social Media Blunder And The FTC


Table Of Contents

”Listen to audio version”

The Kardashians Are In Hot Water

This year, there was a new law passed by the FTC against posting advertisements on social media and requiring them to be marked as sponsored ads.  And uh oh, it seems like the Kardashian/Jenner clan may be in a little bit of a pickle.  We all know that the Kardashian/Jenner’s are Instagram royalty.  In fact, this well-known family is not only famous for their reality show but they are a force to be reckoned with on social media as well, pulling in over 317 million followers combined.  And it means they are directly in the spotlight - and have a little bit of work to do to stay compliant with legal requirements.  

And they aren't the only ones.  A lot of celebs (and brands!) are guilty of not stating brand posts are sponsored ads, since it wasn’t illegal until just recently. In this blog, Hollywood Branded looks at the reasons why brands - and celebs - need to be careful to stay compliant with the new FTC social media sponsored ad laws.


FTC: Friend or Foe

The FTC has been cracking down on sponsored posts based on the belief that consumers are confused by whether these are in fact sponsored partnerships by brands or just a sharing of a celeb's love for a brand.  It's a fine line - as typically it's a combo - most celebs and influencers are not going to post about a brand if they DON'T like it.  Except perhaps in really obvious cases of diet detox teas and similar where money truly talks.   


A lot of branded product placement posts don’t read naturally that they are, in fact, sponsored by a brand. And the brand doesn't necessarily want to shout from the rooftops that they are paying someone to say they like them.  And they pay quite a hefty fee typically.  The Kardashians are known to make social media brand deals including all the Kardashian/Jenner sisters from Kourtney all the way to Kylie for upwards of five hundred thousand dollars. Wow!


Speaking of Kylie, thanks to an investigation by watchdog group Truth In Advertising,  she and her older sister Kim seem to have the most sponsored posts on their Instagram accounts, exceeding 100 posts - that weren’t marked as advertisements. The Kardashians were called out by the group, who sent a letter straight to the source, their home. A quote from Yahoo Movies better describes the severity of this allogation. “The Kardashians now have a week to take those posts down, or Truth in Advertising will notify the Federal Communications Commission, which in turn could open an official investigation.”  


So umm... by going public with this letter, and having everyone (including us) write about it... isn't the cat out of the bag by now?? And since the Kardashian's/Jenner's typically remove their branded posts shortly after posting them (standard practice for everyone, much to brand's displeasure everywhere) is this REALLy something that needs to be done?  Right this very minute?!?

A Look To The Future

Hollywood Branded has already talked about Kim’s blip in the past with brands on Instagram which you can read here, but with this new law passing, it looks like the Kardashian's/Jenner's will be taking some time to look back in the past and fix their errors. Or more so... fix their future posts, by having a plan of action beforehand.  

And brands be forewarned.  The FTC has been going after the BRAND with fines... not the celebrity influencer.  So before you launch your next celebrity social media campaign - make sure your post will include #ad or #sponsored or some other such hashtag call out.  It will make engagement lower.  But your pocketbook will be happy - as will your lawyer.

Ready To Work With Influencers?

Are you interested in learning more on how your brand can work with social media influencers? Download our infographic that provides case studies, rates and strategies for success when creating a social media influencer program.

How To Connect Your Brand With Social Influencers