FTC Warns Nordstrom Over Tweetup Freebies
[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]
The FTC conducted an investigation on Nordstrom’s marketing and promotion in connection with a “tweetup” held in Boise. Apparently Nordstrom provided free gifts to “influencers”, including $50 gift cards to Nordstrom Rack. [Sadly, I did not receive an invitation to this event.]
The FTC says it was concerned that Nordstrom:
did not tell the social media influencers . . . that, when they posted or wrote about the event, they should disclose they had received gifts for attending.
Nevertheless, it declines to initiate an enforcement action based on a number of factors: (1) the event size; (2) the fact that influencers who posted about the event made appropriate disclosures; and (3) the fact that Nordstrom subsequently revised its social media policy.
Hard to draw much of a conclusion from this, except that the FTC’s watchful eye is always scanning the online landscape. Although the FTC has been active in tackling what it views as problematic endorsements, I’m not aware of an enforcement action involving social media and freebies. It’s worth noting that the FTC has been perfectly clear about what it wants brands to do when they hold these types of events, but for some reason, big brands have been slow to grok this.
Other coverage (and h/t): “FTC Declines to “Rack” up Another Enforcement Action After Reviewing Nordstrom’s “TweetUp” Event”
“Hyundai Gets a Pass from the FTC on Endorsement Issues, in Part Due to Its Social Media Policy”
“FTC Dings PR Firm for Fake Reviews — In re Reverb Communications”
“FTC Drops Investigation of Advertiser Who Gave Gifts to Bloggers”
“FTC Online Endorsement Guidelines Strike Again – FTC Dings Legacy Learning Over Allegedly Misleading Affiliate Reviews”