Pinterest®, since it first appeared on the scene in 2010, has been the darling of crafty do-it-yourselfers (DIYs), ambitious brides-to-be, fitness aficionados, foodies, and anyone else interested in creating their own little portfolio of images carefully curated from sites around the Internet.  Pinterest has consistently presented itself as a tool that could be used by consumers for a natural, authentic experience, giving users full artistic and creative reign as they pinned images and designed boards.  In fact, Pinterest has been notorious for cracking down on advertisers who use its offerings in any sort of spammy way, including now prohibited “Pin It to Win It” contests.  The site has also received considerable attention for the thorny legal issues that are implicated by its “pin anything you want” philosophy, including copyright, trademark and right of publicity issues.Continue Reading From Art Gallery to Billboard – The Game-Changing Presence of Promoted Pins on Pinterest®

We’re all pretty used to seeing sweepstakes that require entrants to “like” an advertiser’s or app’s Facebook® page in order to enter—they’re probably the most common type of promotion on Facebook.  Many marketers require consumers to “like” an application’s Page as a condition of entry into a sweepstakes or contest, in order to receive coupons or other rewards, or in order to watch a video or some other type of content.  Advertisers like to do this because in exchange for offering consumers benefits for “liking” their applications’ Pages, the advertisers obtain a guaranteed base of Facebook fans and extend their brand’s reach on Facebook.

But, in a few months, as a result of recent changes to Facebook’s Platform Policy, these examples of “like-gating” will no longer be kosher on the Facebook platform.  Facebook’s revised Platform Policy, updated August 7, 2014, states that developers of Facebook applications may “[o]nly incentivize a person to log into your app, like your app’s Page, enter a promotion on your app’s Page, or check-in at a place.”  The revised policy goes on to state that “Effective November 5th, 2014, you may no longer incentivize people to like your app’s Page.”

Facebook provides these examples of what is no longer allowed:

FacebookContinue Reading Facebook Changes the Rules Again: The Sally Field Principle of “Likes” on Social Media

ColeHaanOn March 20, 2014, the FTC issued a closing letter to Cole Haan that will affect all kinds of advertisers (and advertisements) on social media.  In particular, it will impact the way that brands interact with users on Pinterest and tell their users to use hashtags in contests and other types of promotions.  So advertisers, #listenup!

The FTC took issue with the shoemaker’s “Wandering Sole” contest on Pinterest, which called for people to create Pinterest boards with images of five Cole Haan shoes, along with pictures of the contestants’ “favorite places to wander.”  Whoever posted the most creative entry would win a $1,000 shopping spree.  Cole Haan told users to include the hashtag “#WanderingSole” with their photos, but—importantly—it didn’t tell participants they also needed to make it clear that they posted the pins in order to enter a contest.

The FTC was concerned because this material connection (the link between the pin and the contest entry) was not disclosed in entrants’ posts.  The letter states that “entry into a contest to receive a significant prize in exchange for endorsing a product through social media constitutes a material connection that would not reasonably be expected by viewers of the endorsement.”   The FTC observed that the participants’ pins featuring Cole Haan products were endorsements of the company’s products, and the #WanderingSole hashtag ineffectively communicated the financial incentive—a material connection—between Cole Haan and the entrant.

Continue Reading FTC Gives Cole Haan’s Contest the #Boot