Anyone who follows the Kardashian-Jenner squad on Instagram knows that, on top of appropriating other cultures and posting beaucoup de selfies, the sisters often post about their "love" for waist trainers and brands like Fit Tea and Sugar Bear Hair. However, the sisters often fail to disclose that they are being paid hefty amounts of money for every one of these images.
Truth in Advertising Inc., a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, whose mission is to be an "online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing" has sent a letter to matriarch Kris Jenner as well as the Kardashian-Jenner family's lawyers, threatening to report them to the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC works to "prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers." As the Fashion Law points out, the federal agency has a list of guidelines for endorsements and testimonials.
"Advertisers are subject to liability for false or unsubstantiated statements made through endorsements, or for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers," the FTC's guides for endorsements and testimonials say.
As seen in the below examples, the Kardashian-Jenners sometimes don't include the words "ad" or "sponsored" in their photos that are likely advertisements. If they do include anything, it's often #Sp or #Spon, which as the Fashion Law wrote, "such disclosures attempts would likely be deemed invalid."
"Consumers might not understand that #Spon means that the message was sponsored by an advertiser," the FTC's website reads.
The Truth in Advertising Inc., according to Page Six, found multiple posts that did not "clearly or conspicuously disclose their relationships with the companies being promoted." The letter listed 27 companies ranging from Puma and Estée Lauder to Calvin Klein and JetSmarter.
As the Fashion Law explains, the Truth in Advertising is stating that it will report the family if the issues aren't "fully corrected" by Wednesday. But correcting the posts, or adding the hashtags #Ad or #Sponsored, will not undo the fact that millions of people would have already seen the posts before they were edited.
The Kardashians and Jenners are not the only influencers failing to disclose when they are paid significant amounts of cash for Instagram posts.
Take Selena Gomez for example. In July, she had the most-liked Instagram photo ever. But in said image, the singer was sipping from a bottle of Coca-Cola, which could be labeled as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. And then there's Scott Disick who accidentally revealed his sponsored post for BooTea to the Instagram world, by copy-and-pasting the posting instructions he received from the company into the image's caption.
Earlier this month, the Fashion Law reported that the FTC was planning to crack down on non-disclosed advertisements, especially ones with the hashtag #Spon.
"We've been interested in deceptive endorsements for decades and this is a new way in which they are appearing," Michael Ostheimer, a deputy in the FTC's Ad Practices Division, told the Fashion Law. "We believe consumers put stock in endorsements and we want to make sure they are not being deceived."
Maybe if Truth in Advertising Inc. reports the family to the FTC, it'll push the agency to actually enforce its policies and make celebrities like the Kardashian-Jenners disclose when they are being paid a load of dollar bills for one Instagram post.