If you learned a new dance routine, tie-dyed clothing, made whipped coffee or took part in a “challenge” while staying safely at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably have TikTok to thank. TikTok, which has more than 800 million active users, became the go-to social media platform to keep people engaged and entertained while stuck at home. Understandably, brands and their marketing teams quickly learned how to incorporate TikTok into their social strategies. As with any new platform, there was a bit of a learning curve to ensure compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (the FTC Guides). A recent National Advertising Division (NAD) monitoring case, however, sheds some light on best practices when engaging influencers on TikTok.
NAD brought the monitoring case against a consumer goods company (the Advertiser) in relation to a TikTok influencer campaign for a line of paper towels. The influencers took part in a dance challenge using cleaning-themed music and featuring the Advertiser’s paper towels in the background of the video. Importantly, NAD found that the influencers adequately disclosed their material connection to the Advertiser through a #BrandPartner hashtag (“Put another way, consumers viewing the TikTok videos on TikTok would understand that the influencers are being compensated . . .”), as is required under the FTC Guides. The issue, interestingly, had nothing to do with sharing the videos on TikTok at all. Instead, NAD found that when these videos were shared on other social media platforms, the material connection disclosures were sometimes stripped from the videos because they were platform overlays and not embedded in the videos. Continue Reading