Why? • It’s the right thing to do • You want readers, brands and consumers to trust you (as a blogger or a business) • If you’re the “owner” of the brand or business, you’re ulHmately responsible #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
Top 3 Takeaways #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
AdverHsements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as “typical” are required to disclose the results consumers can generally expect What does that mean? Endorsements must be truthful, not misleading. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
If a company refers in an adverHsement to the ﬁndings of a research organizaHon that conducted research sponsored by the company, the adverHsement must disclose the connecCon between both. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
A post by a blogger who receives cash or in-‐kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
“The FTC guidelines are about decepKve pracKces in which what appears to be an honest opinion is, in fact, a biased perspecKve.” – Joe Chernov (@jchernov), co-‐chair, WOMMA Ethics CommiVee #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
On behalf of the brand… • It’s the brand or adverHser’s responsibility to inform campaign parHcipants. UlHmately, YOU are responsible. Explain to members of your network what can – and can’t – be said about the product; • Set up a reasonable monitoring program to check out what your people are saying about your product; and • Be proacHve. Follow up if you ﬁnd quesHonable pracHces. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
TUDYCASES Ann Taylor LOFT To promote the launch of its summer collecHon, Ann Taylor LOFT invited bloggers to aVend an exclusive preview of its 2010 summer collecHon. "Bloggers who aVend will receive a special giY," the invitaHon read, "and those who post coverage from the event will be entered in a mystery giY card drawing where you can win up to $500 at LOFT!"
In small print on the invitaHon: "Please note all bloggers must post coverage from our event to their blog within 24 hours in order to be eligible. Links to post must be sent to [e-‐mail address], along with the code on the back of your giY card distributed to you at the event. You will be noHﬁed of your giY card amount by February 2. GiY card amounts will vary from $10 to $500."
“We were concerned that bloggers who aLended a preview on January 26, 2010 failed to disclose that they received giYs for posHng blog content about that event,” Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director-‐ adverHsing pracHces, wrote in a leVer dated April 20 to Ann Taylor’s legal representaHon.
The ResoluCon? • The FTC ulHmately determined not to recommend an enforcement acHon, because, in part ‘LOFT adopted a wriVen policy . . . staHng that LOFT will not issue any giY to any blogger without ﬁrst telling the blogger that the blogger must disclose the giY in his or her blog.’ • They expect the company to monitor bloggers’ compliance with the obligaHon to disclose giYs they receive from LOFT.” #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
On behalf of the blogger… • It’s the brand or adverHser’s responsibility to inform you. However, it’s your responsibility to familiarize yourself with online endorsement guidelines. • Set up an online disclosure policy page on your site and refer to disclosures when talking about the product(s). • Be proacHve. Push back on the brand if you have quesHons. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
Example of Blogger Ambassador Program: Typical “Asks” • Get the tools. Purchase/use/download product. • Join the Ambassador Program for a period of <insert Hme frame>. • Use our product. Use the product and document your experience. • Create content. Post a blog or vlog review of product on your blog or website (disclose compensaHon) • Social sharing of the review post, including: at least one tweet and one share on Facebook (disclose compensaHon) • Follow brand TwiVer account • Like brand Facebook page #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
As a blogger you should have the following: • Disclosure policy on blog or website • Disclosures you use when sharing informaHon on social networks • DocumentaHon of your partnership with the brand Don’t worry, I’ll show you what these look like. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
An exciHng round of #True or #False. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
True or False? A comprehensive online disclosure policy on your website fully covers you. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
In this instance, yes: If you are given the use of a product for an extended amount of Hme you should disclose: 1) That you were given the product; 2) How long you were given the product; and 3) You returned the product. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
Disclosure Policy Example for blog or website This policy is valid from July 14, 2011 This blog is a personal blog wri2en and edited by me. For quesKons about this blog, contact <insert your email address>. This blog does not accept any form of cash adverKsing, sponsorship or paid topics. However, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event Kckets and other forms of compensaKon from companies and organizaKons. The owner(s) of this blog will never receive compensaKon in any way from this blog. This blog does contain content which might present a conﬂict of interest. This content may not always be idenKﬁed. We are employed or consult with: Company 1, Company 2, etc… We serve on the following corporate or non proﬁt boards: Example 1, Example 2, etc… We are acKve in a poliKcal party which inﬂuences our blog: AﬃliaKon 1. We blog about people to whom we are related. These people include: My mom (name). We have a ﬁnancial interest in the following that are relevant to our blogging: Investment 1. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
True or False? PracCcal example. A company with a new app hires you as part of an ambassador program. As part of your requirements they ask you to submit a posiHve review in an app store along with “posiHve comments.” If you use the app and like it you do not have to disclose you were compensated. #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans
FTC Resources • Speciﬁc quesHons: Email: endorsements@Yc.gov • Revised Guides oﬀer more than 35 examples of how guidelines apply in pracHcal sesngs • To-‐the-‐point video clips • To ﬁle a complaint or get free informaHon on consumer issues, visit Yc.gov or call toll-‐free, 1-‐877-‐FTC-‐HELP (1-‐877-‐382-‐4357) #BBsummit11 www.sevansstrategy.com @PRsarahevans