Tweets and Crumpets: Examining U.K. and U.S. Regulation of Athlete Endorsements and Social Media Marketing
AbstractThe latest trend of using athlete endorser social media accounts as advertising mediums has caused apprehension in both the United Kingdom and the United States regarding a consumer’s ability to distinguish advertisements from non-advertisements. Many of the athlete messages are not easily identifiable as marketing communications, and the trepidation is that consumers may be misled by the promotional nature of the messages. As a result, there have been several legal decisions associated with the regulation of the content of an advertiser’s messages through social media and the need for disclosure of the advertiser-endorser relationship to consumers. This article focuses on a legal decision in the United Kingdom against Nike regarding the use of endorsers to distribute marketing communications through social media. The article also discusses the potential legal issues that may occur in the United States and abroad from either non-compliance and/or the misinterpretation of regulations.