Kardashian Sponsored Instagram Posts May Violate Ad Laws, Says Consumer Group

Khloe Kardashian Fit Tea
Khloe Kardashian promoting FitTea wraps on her Instagram account. Courtesy Khloe Kardashian/Instagram

You mean they don’t really love skinny tea? The Kardashian family may be in trouble for not properly labeling some of their sponsored Instagram posts, according to the nonprofit consumer group Truth in Advertising.

“We found that members of the Kardashian/Jenner family are engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns for various companies by routinely creating and publishing sponsored social media posts for such companies without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that they are paid representatives or that the posts are advertisements,” Truth in Advertising wrote in a letter addressed to Kris Jenner and lawyer Michael Kump on August 17. 

The organization reviewed Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie’s Instagram accounts and allegedly found they all violate "federal law" for not making clear that certain posts were advertisements. Although it’s pretty clear that they're cashing in when they pose with their FitTea, it's maybe less less obvious that Kendall is a paid spokesperson for companies such as Calvin Klein and Estée Lauder.

The FTC has extensive, detailed guidelines about the best ways to divulge which posts are advertisements on social media. For Instagram and Twitter, they basically recommend making the disclosure prominent by using hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored.

The letter included screenshots of an old post of Kylie posing with FitTea as an example of their failure to point out the paid partnership. Truth in Advertising also sent a copy of the note to the companies sponsoring many of the posts.

#ad using @fittea before my shoots is my favorite ☺️

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

“Based on this information, we intend to notify the Federal Trade Commission that these individuals and companies are engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns unless, by August 24, 2016, the issues described above are fully corrected,” the letter continued.

However, even if the FTC became aware of the Kardashian’s unlabeled posts, the reality stars are probably not going to face a severe punishment. Richard Cleland, assistant director, division of advertising practices at the FTC, clarified the policy for bloggers and Instagram celebrities back in 2009. “There’s no monetary penalty, in terms of the first violation, even in the worst case,” he told Fast Company. Our approach is going to be educational, particularly with bloggers. We’re focusing on the advertisers: What kind of education are you providing them, are you monitoring the bloggers and whether what they’re saying is true?”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHu-rMCA0eC/

It seems the Kardashian-Jenner clan have gone back and deleted many of the posts in question, and have corrected their errors on more recent posts. When Kim posted a video of herself eating a SugarBearHair gummy on Monday, August 22, she clearly pointed out the partnership. “#ad Excited to be partnering with @sugarbearhair to share their amazing hair vitamins with you! These chewable gummy vitamins are delicious and a favorite part of my hair care routine #sugarbearhair,” she captioned the clip. 

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