In what appears to be the first endorsement for a celebrity baby birth, Dreft laundry detergent announced the arrival of the first born child of Kevin Jonas, the eldest member of the pop group the Jonas Brothers.
Using the hashtag “#BabyJonas,” Dreft tweeted a picture of the newborn with her mother and the message, “On this day, a little star was born. Meet Alena Rose Jonas.” Delivered just prior to kickoff of the Super Bowl, Dreft sent a second tweet that “Even the littlest star can outshine the biggest game. Congratulations @KevinJonas & @DanielleJonas! #BabyJonas.” Similar messages were shared on Dreft’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Kevin foreshadowed the relationship by tweeting his support of Dreft the day before his daughter’s birth: “Love using @Dreft as we prepare for Baby Girl! Follow @Dreft for exclusive content from our growing family! #BabyJonas #DreftAmazingBabyDays.”
A representative for Kevin Jonas declined to discuss the financial arrangement between Dreft and the Jonas family. But the new twist on birth announcements may have triggered implications under Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
In December 2009, the FTC updated its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which apply to social media, word-of-mouth marketing, and other promotions and advertising in which consumers or celebrities speak on behalf of companies. One of the requirements: celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside of the context of traditional ads. The FTC’s .Com Disclosures similarly require disclosures in space-constrained ads, such as tweets. For example, the FTC recommends using a hashtag like “#ad” or “#sponsored” at the beginning of a tweet. Kevin Jonas’s failure to indicate Dreft’s sponsorship in the tweets runs afoul of the FTC’s guidance.
Why it matters: In contrast to the celebrities who want to keep their children out of the limelight with a ban on paparazzi photographs of celebrity children, the Jonas’s endorsement deal might set a new precedent for celebrity babies. Some industry insiders predict that other celebrities will likely follow suit by striking up relationships with brands over life events, particularly given the success of the Jonas sponsorship, with more than 43,000 retweets of Dreft’s six tweets throughout the day of the birth. Other traditional publications such as weekly magazines, which used to break the news about famous offspring, are on the decline. However, it will be interesting to see how the FTC pursues those who violate the Guides. Celebrity parents should be ready to accept the consequences.