Marketers that post photos to Pinterest must make the same disclosures as in more traditional forms of advertising, the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division has ruled.
Specifically, the NAD said the diet company Nutrisystem should have added disclaimers to photos it uploaded to a Pinterest page devoted to a campaign touting "real customers." The campaign featured people who had lost significant amounts of weight -- in some cases more than 100 pounds -- while on Nutrisystem.
The NAD characterized those photos and captions as testimonials, and ruled that Nutrisystem should have made a "complete disclosure of material information" -- including that the consumers featured in the ads are exceptional.
Nutrisystem contended that it inadvertently omitted to include disclaimers with the photos and captions, which were live for two months before the NAD inquired about them, according to the organization.
The company has since added language stating that the people featured in the ads were paid, and that their results are not typical.
This decision is not the first time the NAD has said that marketers need to make disclosures on social media sites. Last November, the organization found fault with a Facebook promotion by contact lens seller Coastal Contacts.
In that case, the NAD said that marketers can legitimately entice consumers into “liking” pages on Facebook by offering free merchandise -- but that those companies must fully disclose the terms and conditions of the offers.
Coastal Contacts had asked consumers to "like" a Facebook page in order to receive free glasses, but the ads soliciting the “likes” didn't say that consumers still had to pay shipping charges and that only certain styles of glasses and types of lenses were eligible for the offer. The promotion also didn't initially convey that Coastal only planned to give away a total of 10,000 glasses.