Get your Facetune ready: Influencers are gearing up for their moment in the political spotlight.
This week, a small set of TikTok tastemakers and IG mavens banded together to launch a trade group, the American Influencer Council.
Part of their goal is to legitimize influencing as an industry. The AIC wants to fund market research into the influencer economy and build a mentoring program for rising stars.
Another mission? Political lobbying.
Washington is not prepared for these skincare routines
The arrival of the AIC is well timed. The FTC is reviewing a topic near and dear to the hearts — and wallets — of influencers: Ad disclosures.
The current law of the land is the FTC’s Endorsement Guide, which states that any connection between an endorser and the seller of a product must be “clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”
But the guide is nonbinding, and there’s no real penalty for violating it.
Lord & Taylor got in trouble with the FTC for a 2015 campaign. The company failed to disclose that it paid ~50 influencers to post in a paisley dress on Instagram. An FTC commissioner pointed out to TechCrunch that the company didn’t have to apologize, offer refunds, or even send a notice to customers.
The FTC wants to start levying fines against bad actors. And the AIC agrees. Rule-breakers are a drag on business.
Unveiling the influencer political platform
A few of the AIC’s other demands:
- That ad-disclosure techniques — both their language and visual prominence — be standardized across the major social networks.
- That the FTC review the Endorsement Guide every 3 years, instead of the glacial pace of every 10.
- That the FTC put more resources into educating new influencers about its rules.
If you have a mildly successful Insta account for your golden retriever and you want in on this new political movement, I have bad news: Admission to the AIC is invite-only. And frankly, Rex’s doggy bandana is very 2017.