In its December 19, 2019 news release, the Competition Bureau announced it has sent letters to almost one hundred brands and marketing agencies that are involved in influencer marketing in Canada. These letters advised the organizations to review their marketing practices to ensure they are compliant with the law.
In its news release, the Competition Bureau also reminded organizations that influencers must clearly disclose any material connection he or she may have with the business, product or service being promoted. For example, a “material connection” arises if the influencer receives money or commission, free products or services, discounts, free trips or tickets to events, or has a business or family connection with the brand. Reviews should be honest and based on the influencer’s actual experience with the product or service.
Transparency in social media advertising has been a priority for regulators, and the Competition Bureau’s commitment to ensuring that the digital economy operates well for Canadians. Recently, the Competition Bureau released The Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest – Volume 4, which includes guidelines for influencer marketing, together with recommendations for both influencers and brand owners. Similarly, Ad Standards released its Influencer Marketing Disclosure Guidelines, which it created in collaboration with an industry panel of influencer marketing companies (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines include a list of Do’s and Don’ts for influencers.