Lord & Taylor settles FTC charges it fooled consumers with ‘fashion recommendations’ by others it actually paid for
Lord & Taylor paid 50 fashion trendsetters thousands of dollars to promote its Design Lab Paisley Asymmetrical Dress on Instagram as part of an ad campaign, according to a FTC lawsuit.
What people who followed these fashion influencers on Instagram saw were photos and posts about how fabulous the dress is. What they didn’t see was any mention that Lord & Taylor had paid them to promote it.
In addition, the FTC said, Lord & Taylor also paid Nylon, an online fashion magazine, to post an article and an Instagram post about the season’s “must-have” item – Lord & Taylor’s Design Lab dress. Again, there weren’t any disclosures saying it was paid advertising, Aditi Jhaveri, consumer education specialist for the FTC, said.
While it looked like the magazine was giving an independent, fashion-forward recommendation about this dress, it was actually an ad in disguise. That’s deceptive, according to the FTC.
Companies shouldn’t make it confusing for consumers to distinguish between objective opinions and paid ads, Jhaveri said. In the future, Lord & Taylor must make sure there’s a clear disclosure when they pay someone to endorse their products, according to the company’s settlement with the FTC.
Why is this important to consumers? If someone is paid to promote a product, his or her opinion may have been influenced.
Consumers should look to see if there’s a disclosure on social media posts and online articles. If it’s there, it should be easy to notice. Here are some examples of disclosures you might see: #ad, #paid ad, advertisement, paid advertisement, or some variation of these.
For more information, take a look at the FTC’s video on evaluating online reviews and recommendations: