The FTC recently closed an investigation on Hyundai, with no sanctions against the brand, after one of their agencies gave bloggers gift certificates as an incentive to “… incline links to Hyundai videos in their posts and/or to comment on . . . forthcoming Super Bowl ads.” The FTC provided two reasons for closing the investigation, as follows:
- Hyundai did not know about the incentives in advance. They were offered by an employee of Hyundai’s marketing agency.
- Offering an incentive to post about or endorse a Hyundai product violated the social media policies of Hyundai and the agency.
While the FTC decision seems to encourage adopting a social media policy, the FTC hasn’t generally accepted affiliate agreements as substantial evidence of a brand policing its affiliates. And we are all still waiting to see the FTC take action against celebrities who violate the terms of the Guides.