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Italy’s competition authority reins in influencer marketing

The Italian competition authority (AGCM) has carried out a first enforcement initiative on influencer marketing, “one of the most innovative and powerful advertising tools”. The initiative aims to prevent the circulation through social networks of messages whose commercial intent is not clear. “Influencers are online celebrities who are able to influence the public’s tastes by showing support or approval of specific brands, thus generating an advertising effect, without however making clear to consumers their commercial purpose,” says AGCM. Last July AGCM sent “moral suasion” letters in relation to specific posts on Instagram to 7 main influencers and 11 companies selling famous brands. The letters were aimed at urging both influencers and traders to publish posts whose possible advertising nature would be clear and transparent. AGCM undertook these steps after both Unione Nazionale Consumatori and Codacons separately filed a complaint. In the letters, after reminding the addressees that advertisements must always be clearly recognisable as such by consumers, the AGCM has stressed that the prohibition of hidden advertising has a general validity and therefore must be respected also in communications delivered through social networks. Therefore, influencers cannot make consumers believe they are behaving in an unsolicited and unselfish manner when they are actually promoting a specific brand. “The addressees have abided by AGCM’s indications not only in the posts subject to moral suasion, but also in those involving other brands. Moreover, brand owners have committed themselves to asking their testimonials to always include a clear indication of the advertising nature of their posts in compliance with the principles set out by AGCM.” As a result of the authority’s initiative celebrities and companies that were not among the addressees of the moral suasion letters have now started to include the warnings suggested by AGCM in their posts. See more and also this article in World Trademark Review.

  • Thursday, 22 February 2018

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