When is blog content hidden marketing communication?

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Marketing communication in social media is extensive and by inducing bloggers to write about your product or service, you can potentially reach a wide audience. But, when does a blogger’s opinion regarding a product constitute advertising and when does it merely constitute an expression of the blogger’s freedom of speech? Is it possible for blog readers to perceive the difference? How evident must it be for a consumer that the content in a blog makes part of a company’s marketing communication? The Swedish Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen) now takes the blogger Kissie and Tourn Media AB to court for the purpose of obtaining clearer rules for bloggers’ activities in the borderland (or way across the border) to marketing.

According to the ICC’s rules for advertising and marketing communication and the Swedish Marketing Act, marketing communication should be clearly distinguishable as such and the identity of the marketer should be apparent. In addition, the legal definition of marketing is wide.  According to the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman, Kissie’s blogging and Instagram activities regarding the company Mobilåtervinning are not in line with the Swedish Marketing Act since, according to the Swedish Consumer Ombudsman, Kissie misleadingly appears to be a consumer of Mobilåtervinning’s services, it is not apparent from the blog or her Instagram account that the content is marketing and it is not indicated that Mobilåtervinning is the sender behind the marketing communication.

If you want to know more, please contact Emilia Hempel at Time Advokatbyrå, + 46 701 41 55 09, emilia.hempel@timelaw.se. Time Advokatbyrå advises on marketing law, digital media and IP related matters such as trade mark strategies and design of specific advertising.