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NAD: Testimonials on Pinterest Need Disclaimers

1 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – Take note: if you post photos to Pinterest, the content sharing service on the Web, you have to make the same disclosures you do in other, more traditional forms of advertising. That’s a new rule from the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD).

A rule that evidently arose after NAD said long-time DRTV marketer Nutrisystem failed to add disclaimers to photos it uploaded to a Pinterest page for an ad campaign touting “real customers.” The ad featured people who had lost weight – some more than 100 pounds – via Nutrisystem.

NAD said the photos and captions were testimonials, and found that Nutrisystem should have made a “complete disclosure of material information” – including that those in the ads were exceptional cases. Nutrisystem said omitting the disclaimers was an accident. The company has complied and added language explaining subjects in the ads were paid and that their results weren’t typical.

NAD has said before this case that marketers need to add disclosures on social media sites. Last November, it found problems with Coastal Contacts, the contact lens promoter, and its ad on Facebook. In that case, NAD found that it is okay for marketers to entice consumers into “liking” pages on Facebook with free offers, but marketers have to disclose the terms and conditions of the offers.

Coastal Contacts had asked consumers to “like” a Facebook page to get free glasses, but the ads said nothing of consumers having to pay shipping and that only certain styles of glasses and types of lenses were eligible for the offer.

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