Celebrity Bloggers and Their Schwag

We’ve all seen that small print in TV ads they display next to the “doctor” pushing the latest in miracle weight loss cures that read:

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forces advertisers to inform the public that this dude on your TV is not some random doctor dying to save the waist lines of Americans, but, rather, some random physician who would sell water to a drowning man if there was a paycheck involved.

You never see the same disclaimer in celebrity ads. When Angelina Jolie pimps a clothing line, the ad-company doesn’t need to tell you that they’re paying the starlet big dough to make you think that if you buy their wares, you’ll get Brad.

Angelina Ad

That’s because the FTC presumes that the public has a built-in understanding that celebrities are all product pimps, while doctors are honest, decent folk.

The FTC has recently decided that this same distinction now applies for bloggers vs. celebrities, specifically, celebrity bloggers. Case in point, Gwyneth Paltrow. On Gwyneth’s awkwardly named GOOP website, she was recently promoting the total awesomeness of a resort in Marrakesh, Morocco:

I stayed at the revamped historic La Mamounia Hotel, located in the heart of the imperial city. The Jacques Garcia designed interiors are splendid to say the least, and the hotel’s gardens are out of this world, almost from a fairy tale….(more)

Meanwhile, Gwyneth failed to disclose whether or not she got compensation for her review, either directly (cashola) or indirectly (free stay and bath soaps). 

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Reports were made to the FTC and they seem to be letting her off the hook, under the provision that the public just assumes she’s getting freebies and will consider that when they read her super duper awesome hotel review.

Meanwhile, the non-celebrity bloggers, otherwise known as “the people who sit in dimly lit, poorly ventilated, cubicle filled rooms for 12 hours a day” must disclose any form of benefit they receive from any business they might promote on their site or else have their butts hauled off to San Quentin.

In summary:

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Fight the power.