From Art Gallery to Billboard – The Game-Changing Presence of Promoted Pins on Pinterest 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 … Continue Reading
#Hashtag This – Disclosure Needed When Using Endorsements as a Method of Contest Entry The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a closing letter to high-end shoe retailer Cole Haan that has implications for broadcasters conducting contests on social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest.  The letter concerned a contest, called “WanderingSole,” that Cole Haan promoted on Pinterest.  The contest asked people to create Pinterest boards using images of Cole … Continue Reading
The FTC “Pins” Cole Haan on Pinterest Campaign: Disclosure of Contest Driving Endorsement of Products Required The rise of social media for contests and marketing campaigns has captured the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), particularly campaigns that provide for contest entry based on what amounts to social media endorsements. “Like Company XYZ now to enter!” The FTC is taking stock and beginning to weigh in on this relatively recent … Continue Reading
Hashtag promotions could spell #trouble for companies conducting online contests

By Robert J. Morgan

The Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices has recently finalized its investigation into a Cole Haan’s “Wandering Shoe” contest wherein contestants could enter the contest by creating Pinterest boards titled “Wandering Sole” and including five shoe images from Cole Haan’s Wander Sole Pinterest Board as well as five images of contestants’ “favorite places to wander.” Contestants also were instructed to use #WanderingSole in each pin description. The contestant with the most creative entry would, under the contest rules, be awarded a $1,000 shopping spree from Cole Haan.

In its investigation closing letter, the FTC stated that it believes “that participants’ pins featuring Cole Haan products were endorsements of the Cole Haan products, and the fact that the pins were incentivized by the opportunity to win a $1,000 spree would not reasonably be expected by consumers who saw the pins.” The FTC also stated that “Cole Haan did not instruct contestants to label their pins and Pinterest boards to make it clear that they had pinned Cole Haan products as part of a contest” and that the #WanderingSole hashtag did not adequately communicate “the financial incentive—a material connection—between contestants and Cole Haan.”

As we have discussed previously, the FTC, in its Online Endorsement Guidelines, requires the disclosure of any “material connection” offered in exchange for an online endorsement or post. Failure to provide such a disclosure potentially violates Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. § 45 Unfair methods of competition unlawful; prevention …


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#SMH-butnotacontestorsweepstakes – Check your online promotion hashtag or face scrutiny from the FTC As we have reported before, the Federal Trade Commission requires the disclosure of any “material connection” offered in exchange for an online endorsement or post in their Online Endorsement Guidelines. Now, they are applying those rules to online promotions that require contestants to post, tweet or pin certain message to participate. For those of you with ... Continue Reading
#Sweepstakes and #Contest #Entries on Pinterest Are Endorsements, says FTC; Implications Beyond Pinterest The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently investigated Cole Haan, Inc. to determine whether a contest that it conducted on https://www.pinterest.com violated Section 5 of the FTC Act, which, in part, requires the disclosure of a material connection between a marketer and an endorser when their relationship is not otherwise apparent from the context of the... Continue Reading
Editor’s Note: This blog post is a joint submission with BakerHostetler’s Data Privacy Monitor blog. Authored by: Gerald Ferguson and Alan Pate In a March 20, 2014 closing letter sent to fashion company Cole Haan, the FTC warned that use of the hashtag #WanderingSole in conjunction with a recent Pinterest contest did not adequately communicate … Continue Reading
FTC Says Sponsors of Pinterest Contests Should Require Users to Post Pins with Hashtags Warning When Pins are Posted for a Prize In a March 20, 2014 closing letter sent to fashion company Cole Haan, the FTC warned that use of the hashtag #WanderingSole in conjunction with a recent Pinterest contest did not adequately communicate the “material connection” between Pinterest contestants and Cole Haan and violates Section 5 of the FTC Act. Although the FTC declined to … Continue Reading