Ad or Not?

Published on February 24th, 2016

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Ad or Not? Oscars Edition

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allow celebrities like those headed to the Oscars this Sunday to share their interests with followers. But sometimes it can be hard to tell whether tweets or posts about certain products of interest to the famous are really paid endorsements. If you ask the FTC whether a celebrity has to disclose when she’s being paid to tweet about a product, the agency will tell you (see FTC endorsement guides):

It depends on whether her followers understand that her tweets about products are paid endorsements. If a significant portion of her followers don’t know that, disclosures are needed. Again, determining that could be tricky, so we recommend disclosure.

However, three recent posts by presenters and nominees going to the awards show this weekend recently caught our eye. None were marked “sponsored” or “promoted” indicating that they were paid ads but the content of the posts made us wonder: Ad or not?

The poster: Lady Gaga, presenter and nominee for best original song

The platform: Instagram (14.8m followers)

The product: Dior jeans

Brie Larson Retweet with Frame

The poster: Brie Larson, nominee for best actress in a leading role

The platform: Twitter (retweet to 65k followers)

The product: Apple Music (clicking on link in tweet opens Larson’s 15-song playlist in iTunes)

Kevin Hart Retweet with Frame

The poster: Kevin Hart, presenter

The platform: Twitter (retweet to 26.6m followers)

The product: The comedian’s new “Hustle Hart” sneaker from Nike

Find more of our coverage on sponsored content here.

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