The US promotional activity was underscored by non-profit watchdog Truth In Advertising (TINA) which claimed that as many as 1,700 posts written by a group of 50 influencers had flouted US ad laws by omitting "clear and conspicuous disclosures" of the influencers' material connection to the alcohol brand as required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’.
Among the celebrities falling foul of the regulations were rapper Puff Daddy, Guardians of the Galaxy actor Mikaela Hoover and US singer Cassie, none of whom TINA said made clear that they were being paid for the posts.
TINA executive director Bonnie Patten commented: “It’s time that Diageo starts acting like the responsible corporate citizen it says it is. And if it needs help learning how to comply with the law, TINA.org is confident that the FTC can teach the spirits giant the lessons it needs to learn.”
A Diageo spokesperson said: “We have a rigorous marketing code and take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and have a strong commitment to comply with the FTC’s standards on advertising. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency.”
Diageo recently joined a drinks industry alliance which could enable people to opt out of online alcohol ads.