However, according to The Fashion Law, this particular marketing route—however subversive and novel—could also be against FTC laws requiring influencers to fully disclose sponsored content.
“The social media marketing campaign, which also stars Kim K’s old pal Paris Hilton, is undeniably inventive. It’s buzz-worthy. It’s everything that most fashion brands are not at the moment,” writes TFL’s Julie Zerbo. “But here is something you will not read in others’ coverage of this noteworthy fashion moment: It is almost certainly illegal.”
Under current FTC regulations, if you’re paid to promote a product on Instagram, you must state that on your post—hence why Instagram influencers have started using the hashtag #ad. These rules are in place so consumers clearly know something is an ad, and if “a significant minority” of consumers can’t tell if something is an ad or not, then the campaign is considered deceptive by the FTC and is against the law.
“Regardless of whether Instagram users can identify the commercial nature of the Yeezy posts, what is clear in the case at hand is that there is a ‘material connection’ at play between the YEEZY brand and the many individuals enlisted to appear in the campaign,” continues Zerbo. “And that connection is one that consumers would almost certainly not view as an ad campaign.”
What’s unclear here is whether any of the YEEZY Season 6 participants were paid to be part of the campaign, or were given free clothes. But unless you’ve been following West’s YEEZY campaign from the start, without a caption stating what the post is about, it wouldn’t be hard to confuse these images with a regular Instagram post.
In other style news, Gucci unveils custom “Year of the Dog” Animoji.