Ad or Not? Kim Kardashian and Flat Tummy Lollipops

May 21st, 2018

Two steps forward, one step back for Kim Kardashian in her latest #sponcon.

Last week the reality star posted the following image, pitching Flat Tummy’s appetite-suppressant lollipops, to her 111 million followers on Instagram:

Image source: advertisingandmarketinglawblog.com

Kim, as well as sisters Kourtney and Khloe, have all previously pitched for the brand (which also sells weight-loss teas and shakes) with some notable inconsistencies in disclosing their material relationships with the company. But this post from last week was unlikely to raise eyebrows with the FTC, with the #ad clearly and conspicuously displayed right at the beginning of the caption. However, criticism of a different kind quickly followed: the Internet was furious that the reality star would promote a product potentially tied with unhealthy, disordered eating habits:

When the Instagram post disappeared the next day, it seemed like Ms. Kardashian had gotten the message from critics about advocating for this potentially harmful product. But as it turned out, Instagram deleted it by mistake and quickly restored the post, original caption and all.

But sometime between that time and today, it seems as though Ms. Kardashian actually had a change of heart. Be it an epiphany regarding the harm to the body image of her fans or fear for her own public image, the lengthy caption shouting out the appetite-suppressing quality of the pops was gone, replaced instead with an innocuous lollipop emoji:

But in deleting the whole caption…

… she also deleted the #ad.

Those who have been “keeping up” with this Kardashian saga and saw the original know the answer to TINA.org’s classic “ad or not?” question. But those who haven’t been following along and only saw the most recent version would be unaware that it’s an ad. Since the company is still prominently tagged in the image, this post requires disclosure.

So in fixing one problem, Ms. Kardashian created another. And that really sucks.

Find more of TINA.org’s coverage of Flat Tummy Co. here and here.

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