The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Warner Bros. over allegations that it failed to adequately disclose payments to online influencers who promoted a video game, the FTC said Monday.
The settlement, proposed in July, requires Warner Bros. to disclose any material connections between itself and online endorsers in the future. The deal resolves allegations that Warner Bros. didn't adequately disclose that it paid people -- including PewDiePie, who boasts 46 million YouTube subscribers -- to tout "Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor" in advance of its September 2014 launch.
Warner Bros., through the agency Plaid Social, allegedly instructed the endorsers to "promote positive sentiment" about the game, and to refrain from showing any glitches, according to the FTC. The endorsers were told to say they were paid -- but to put that disclosure in a box underneath the YouTube videos. The endorsers posted a total of around 30 videos on YouTube, which were viewed more than 5.5 million times, according to the FTC.
Earlier this year, the agency also settled with Lord & Taylor over a campaign promoting a sundress from the store's private-label line, Design Lab. The retailer gave the dress to 50 influential fashion bloggers, and paid them between $1,000 and $4,000 each to model it in photos posted to Instagram, the FTC alleged in that case.
The company told the bloggers to style the dress however they wished, and to mention it in the post by using @lordandtaylor and the campaign hashtag, #DesignLab. But Lord & Taylor allegedly failed to require the bloggers to disclose on Instagram that the post was part of an ad campaign.