Cannes-Do Festival Banner
Social Media

Kardashian family accused of 'deceptive' marketing over paid for Instagram endorsements


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

August 23, 2016 | 4 min read

Kim Kardashian West and her sisters have been warned they could face an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint if they fail to remove paid for Instagram endorsements that apparently breach the watchdog's guidelines.

The reality TV star, along with her sisters Khloe and Kourtney and half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, have a combined 100 Instagram posts in violation of the rules according to nonprofit consumer group Truth In Advertising (TINA).

Kardashian Instagram Advertising

The Kardashians have come under fire for their

TINA claims that the Kardashian-Jenner clan, who boast a collective 316 million followers, failed to mark paid product placements as advertising for over two dozen companies, including Puma, Calvin Klein, Fit Tea and Jay Z-owned JetSmarter private charter.

In a blog penned yesterday (22 August) the group said that it had sent a letter to the five women last week alerting them about their "deceptive marketing" campaigns.

TINA added that it had warned the sisters if the "illegal posts were not remedied in a week," it would file a complaint with the FTC.

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

"When it comes to sponsored social media posts, the law is clear – unless it’s self-evident that an Instagram post is an advertisement, a clear and prominent disclosure is required so that consumers understand that what they are viewing is an ad,” said TINA's executive director Bonnie Patten.

"The Kardashian-Jenner family and the companies that have a commercial relationship with them have ignored this law for far too long, and it’s time that they were held accountable," she added.

FTC regulations require influencers to disclose their relationships with brands if they are reimbursed for a review or endorsement, the focus on the Kardashians comes as the FTC has signaled that it is going to better police social media endorsements.

Since the note was published on TINA's website Kim Kardashian West has published an Instagram post promoting Sugar Bear Hair, one of the brands cited by group as being in violation of the rules, and badged it with the hashtag #ad.

In the UK, regulators are also clamping down on undisclosed paid for endorsements from brand ambassadors. With the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issuing a warning to advertisers earlier this month.

Social Media

More from Social Media

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +