Bloggers and brands 2.(1000 Posts)
continuing the discussion from the previous thread about transparency and disclosure (or lack of) by bloggers
Thanks for continuing the discussion! I watched the CLTS instastory and agree with a PP that it was very naive. You can’t just refuse to put the disclosures in because you find them fugly . Well I guess the problem is, you can just refuse at the moment, because there are no consequences and you can just block people who disagree with you.
Wow - spectacularly misguided from CLTS. For a while she's seemed a bit out of her depth - a few times on stories she's said people are 'being mean' to her. It doesn't seem like she's very keen on feedback. I suspect her short-sighted stance on gifting will backfire, although there seem to be plenty of 'hunners' who will follow and/or purchase regardless.
CLTS - Oh dear, she says she doesn't care whether its gifted or not! But I guess I knew this when she had her whole family sitting in a show room advertising a sofa, which is when I unfollowed.
I feel a bit embarrassed for her, she has said she has a personal account, this is her business account. Does she realise she is just an form of advertisement?
You are not supporting other women unless you are honest and transparent. Come on Chloe be kind and keep it real by just letting other women know what is gifted especially at this time of year.
Thanks for the new thread. If CLTS is still following this, here's some free advice: It doesn't matter whether you care. What matters is that you are a business and your customers - the people who pay your bills - care. You're welcome.
I'm guessing the brands are also keen to keep us in the dark over this. I'm sure they'd prefer us to believe their clothes are so irresistible that bloggers pay with their own money. I wonder if they're putting them under pressure not to declare or to fudge it. Anyone know?
CLTS is probably the most naive of the bunch. In that story where she was talking about not tagging gifts, the glasses, jumper and necklace she was wearing were all gifts (I assume the necklace because missoma are one of those IG brands). That’s why she doesn’t want to do it, because everyone would realise that like 80% of what she ‘advertises’ has been given to her for free!
Sadly I don’t think clts is following this anymore. She said on kats thread after the knobs comment, that it was made in response to some mean and unkind messages about her on here so I don’t think she can take any constructive criticism. I felt she was a bit precious to be honest. Unlike Erica and even kat who got involved on here.
Thanks for starting a new thread, Merriboo.
Well, it quite bursts the illusion that you 'own' all these things and you're fabulously wealthy when none of it was paid for by yourself which appears to be a USP of many of these bloggers. Perhaps at the expense of your integrity but it seems most don't value that all too highly. However, brands are more likely to be the main driving force by my estimation, I ignore an ad when it's obviously an ad, a disclosed gift would be of less interest to me as I'd automatically question the veracity surrounding the blogger's opinion.
Brands are definitely profiting, and I suspect many are encouraging the lack of disclosure, albeit for different motivations. The Fashion Law recently released Year in Undisclosed Fashion Advertising and the FTC which is a roundup of their articles which include pieces like Revolve Has Built a Nearly $1 Billion Business Based on Undisclosed Influencer Marketing and What is Really Driving Instagram's Push for Advertising Disclosures?. I was previously unaware Instagram even had a specific disclosure options for its account holders, but the move seems to be made due to the FTC flaunting its teeth over the past year, which has been interesting to say the least. They're calling it a 'push for transparency' when it's far more likely a legal move to avoid liability.
*oops, something went wrong with the link The Year in Undisclosed Fashion Advertising and the FTC
The CMA letter, which you get to through those links (thank you @botemp) is really clear and very interesting.
"The use of editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid (financially or otherwise) for the promotion, without making this clear to the reader, is unlawful and may lead to enforcement action."
Also on the influencers doing Instagram thing, I've found Sara Tasker's podcasts quite interesting especially this one on law, disclosure etc - meandorla.co.uk/podcast25/
I think the ASA really does need to catch up as at the moment there is no real sanction for not following guidelines, 'take that content down' tends to be the most extreme they get to.
So if there is a breach of guidelines, who carries the can, blogger or brand?
The brand I believe Flo, or it is with the ASA. Not sure with the CMA they mostly seem to focus on the agencies behind the campaigns.
I think things that fall outside of the ASA remit (would have to check what this is, but think it includes stuff where the bloggers have full 'editorial control') are instead captured by the CMA requirements. This is the conclusion I came to when reading up on this stuff. Will see if I can find the links later when I have more time.
Definitely the brand for paid promos/sponsorship, as it would be seen in the same way as any bought advertising - the ASA would contact the brand and it would be their responsibility to have the content taken down. (not sure about outside the UK though)
For me (and talking as someone who is an advertising campaign manager so should know this!), the whole 'gifting' thing is where it's still too woolly though - a brand could say that they have sent a gift as goodwill with no expectation of promotion & so feel absolved of responsibility in how that gift is then represented.
I think that's right, that gifting is the woolly area (literally, based on all the cashmere jumpers flooding IG at the moment) This from the ASA website >
A brand sends a vlogger items for free without any control of the content (or any conditions attached) and the vlogger may or may not choose to include the item(s) in a vlog. This sort of PR activity is not covered by the CAP Code; because there is no control, the video would not need to be labelled as an advertorial.
If a vlogger accepts an item sent by a brand on the simple condition that it is reviewed (positively or negatively), without the brand exercising any control over the review, that vlog is unlikely to be covered by the CAP Code. However, in order to comply with consumer protection legislation, we understand that the CMA would expect brands and vloggers to tell consumers if an item was given on the condition that it is talked about. In general, the CMA considers that consumers need to know whether a vlogger has an incentive (financial or otherwise) to talk about a product, and if so what that incentive is.
But IMO, no commercial enterprise simply sends stuff out for free to bloggers without the expectation of something (a tag, a picture) in return. It may not be explicit, but the expectation is there.
I agree meep (and thanks for the link to the podcast it looks really interesting) and that's why I pulled up the term of 'gifting' before. Many of the bloggers have said they only accept gifts they'd want. Ie. there's some correspondence happening where things are offered and then accepted or denied (possibly alternatives offered). That's not gifting in my book.
Even within (other) industry norms, a gift would be a goody bag received at the end of an event in thanks for their presence, or something sent after working together to maintain good relations between both parties and to express gratitude. Any forms of publicity from that is a bonus, not the intent.
The 'gifting' as bloggers seem to refer to it, in my book is a trade, things are offered and sent with the purpose of being featured, guaranteed or not, just because it is 'free' does not make it a gift. I'd term them as samples but considering how derisive they've been about the term gift alone, I'd imagine many bloggers would rather go out and buy their own stuff again than have to term it as such.
That's a really good point Botemp, it's no different to magazines receiving samples they may or may not use for a feature really. (apart from the bit where the person writing the feature then gets to keep them all and the people reading it think they bought them all themselves )
I read an article recently about making money from IG (it was probably linked on the previous thread). That made it very clear that IGers need to invest time in building up a relationship with brands in order to be sent stuff and that the continued relationship is reliant on bloggers promoting the items they are sent. So even if something is gifted without any express requirement of a tag etc, it will likely be the last item received by a blogger from that brand if there is no mention of it.
So who are the digital agencies? Here is one in London www.greenlightdigital.com/digital-marketing/blogger-outreach/
Their words not mine.
IF YOU WANT AWARENESS, YOU CAN BUY ADS. IF YOU WANT HEARTS & MINDS, YOU NEED A BLOGGER
I've been on MN too long, I automatically read that link as Gaslightdigital. Although, probably a more accurate description of their practice
Something about all this that has lately occured to me, is that surely it is really in the bloggers' interests for this type of gifting arrangement to be formalised and regulated. As it is, these women are basically providing 'free' ads for these brands. For the price of a sweater or a bag. All the benefit here is for the brand - I mean, free jumpers are nice but they don't pay the mortgage, do they? So really, if I was a blogger, I'd be keen for this to become a formal arrangement so that I could charge the brand for being their ad. No more of this, 'Oh I wouldn't wear anything I don't love', more of 'this is how I make a living so you better believe I'm getting paid for it'. At least then everyone would know where they stand, including us - the audience.
Currently, these brands are laughing all the way to the bank, bloggers know they have limited shelf life and so rinse as much free shit out of the system as they can before it all dries up. It's all so... seedy, somehow. It's all well and good to have your army of huns defending your right to fail to disclose, but are they the ones actually buying the product you are shilling? Most likely not. Their undying loyalty won't pay the mortgage either.
Thank you for these threads, I’ve learned so much.
It occurred to me the other day how risky it is for brands to associate themselves with bloggers with no real say in how their product is then represented. An Australian blogger that I used to follow recently went through a period of getting drunk and doing stories full of anger and swearing etc and the brands all backed away sharpish but the old content is still out there. With no formal contract or final say when it comes to content and how the blogger behaves I would have thought it could be a risky way of winning those “hearts and minds”.
I find the whole 'it doesn't matter if it's a gift' thing disingenuous and agree with Botemp - calling something a 'gift' makes it sound innocent and palatable when it is really, at the very least, an incentive to plug a particular brand.
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