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News and Insights

First Swiss decisions on online practices of influencers

A warning signal

 

A clear signal has been sent to influencers regarding the labelling of advertising on YouTube and social media since two complaints were approved by the Swiss Fairness Commission (Schweizerische Lauterkeitskommission, Commission suisse pour la Loyauté).
Athletes Iouri Podladtchikov and Jolanda Neff have both advertised companies on Instagram without correctly labelling their posts as such. According to the Swiss Fairness Commission, this is not permitted: a person who receives sponsoring services or comparable remuneration or benefits in kind must disclose his or her relationship with the person/company providing the service.
The Swiss Fairness Commission did not comment about which disclaimers and tags are sufficient, since this was not the subject of the complaint. However, it stated that the requirement for unambiguous transparency was not been met “when a corresponding “#” reference is “hidden” in a long list of different # terms (the Hashtag cloud)”.
Neff’s management has accepted the decision. The sportswoman herself has assured the Commission that in future “all such contributions will be clearly advertised with #ad, #sponsoredby or #poweredby”.

 
 
 

Not yet a clear practice

 

These two decisions are not creating a clear practice. A third case concerns the celebrity Michelle Hunziker who posted an Instagram video thanking her business partners and the commercial establishments in which the video took place. In this instance, the Swiss Fairness Commission did not consider this practice to be an advertising since this was not meant to influence people’s attitudes towards certain products or services of these establishments.
According to the Swiss foundation supporting consumer protection (Konsumentenschutz.ch), this argument is not conclusive, as the celebrity most probably had an obvious economical advantage. Furthermore Konsumentenschutz.ch would now expect “clear, consistent and clearly visible labelling of advertising mail, and no longer a hidden and short #Ad-hashtag”. The font, layout and possibly also the color must highlight the reference.
The appeal period for the decisions has not yet expired, the decisions are awaiting publication. Two other complaints against the tennis star Roger Federer and the fashion influencer Xenia Tchoumitcheva are still pending.

 
 

What does that mean for Swiss companies?

 
 

The celebrities do not have to fear fines for instance, as the Swiss Fairness Commission can only issue warnings. Nevertheless, the subject matter will be looked at more carefully by the Commission and by the media in the future.
Companies need to review how they deal with influencers and bloggers to avoid similar complaints and negative publicity on their practices with renowned persons.
If this topic is relevant to you, we suggest that you evaluate your sponsoring relationships and where appropriate share with influencers and bloggers some good practices.

 
 
Sources:

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/-secret-advertising-_complaint-filed-against-federer-and-other-instagram-influencers/45054248

https://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/themen/werbung/influencer-werbung-zwei-positive-signale/ 

https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/influencer-werbung-iouri-podladtchikov-und-jolanda-neff-wegen-instagram-posts-geruegt

https://www.nzz.ch/schweiz/schleichwerbung-lauterkeitskommission-ruegt-iouri-podladtchikov-und-jolanda-neff-ld.1495578

 

Images: 

Instagram

https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/influencer-werbung-iouri-podladtchikov-und-jolanda-neff-wegen-instagram-posts-geruegt 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/-secret-advertising-_complaint-filed-against-federer-and-other-instagram-influencers/45054248

 

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