Last April, Lord & Taylor launched a campaign
using photos from influential Instagram users. It raised a few eyebrows at the Federal Trade Commission.
The brand paid Instagrammers to post flattering photos of themselves wearing a dress from L & T’s Design Lab collection. There was only one problem:
When the posts went live, it wasn’t clear that the brand was compensating them for their work.
Nearly a year later, Lord & Taylor has to pay for the sins of 2015. The retailer reached a settlement with the FTC, but the details have yet to be disclosed.
They are the latest in a growing list of social media advertisers targeted by the FTC for a failure to make their advertising efforts
clear. It's reported that Lord & Taylor’s Instagrammers were paid between $1,000 and $4,000 for their posts.
"A year ago, when it came to our attention that there were potential issues with how the influencers posted about a dress in this campaign, we took
immediate action with the social media agencies that were supporting us on it to ensure that clear disclosures were made," Lord & Taylor spokeswoman
Molly Morse told USA Today.
The campaign also partnered with the magazine Nylon, which posted a “seemingly objective article” about the dress. Nylon’s social media accounts included
additional photos of the dress, which too, failed to acknowledge both promotions were paid ads.
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“Lord & Taylor needs to be straight with consumers in its online marketing campaigns,” Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer
Protection, said in a statement. “Consumers
have the right to know when they’re looking at paid advertising.”
Lord & Taylor’s agreement is subject to public comment for 30 days. You can even add your own comment here. Although the fine amount hasn’t been disclosed, the FTC’s statement reports
that each violation can carry “a civil penalty of up to $16,000.”