By analyzing testimony from bloggers, facilitators and celebrities, what is the boundary between product and brand endorsement and hidden advertising?

It is acknowledged and shared by the majority of judicial systems, in both common and civil law, that commercial communication must always be recognizable.

In order to ensure that advertising is transparent and recognizable, the law must prohibit all forms of business communication that are hidden or misleading. The law must also prohibit every communication with promotional purposes that is presented to the public in a way that hides the product’s true nature.

Hidden commercial communication has taken on new forms in respect to the past. Among these new communication methods, there is the form of online endorsement on the part of the consumers themselves, which includes the phenomenon of buzz marketing (or word of mouth) that functions as a set of unconventional marketing operations to increase the amount of conversations regarding a product or a service. Also, these unconventional operations can serve to increase the popularity or reputation of a brand. Another form of new hidden commercial communication lies in astroturfing. As a result of these new communications, it is becoming imperative that all of the companies that utilize or plan to incorporate these new forms of online communication are aware that they are subject to the same principles of transparency as those of traditional communication.

Recently, we have dealt with:

  • Drafting codes of conduct intended for bloggers and trend-setters in international fashion houses
  • Facilitating agreements related to the endorsement of individuals in fashion brands and products
  • Measures to be applied to promotional messages conveyed by bloggers and endorsers in social media, especially in the platforms of Twitter and Instagram
  • Qualifying User Generated Content within commercial communication or free expression of thought in the European region