Unfair Competition Committee: Recent Developments in Influencer Marketing and Unfair Competition
Published: February 15, 2020
Kurt E. AndersonGiordano Halleran & CieslaRed Bank, New Jersey, USA
With the proliferation of social networks has come more ways for advertisers to interact with consumers. In fact, many brands are now focusing more on social media marketing strategies than on traditional media, including print, radio, and television.
In particular, collaboration with social media influencers has become an increasingly popular social media marketing strategy. As it relates to social media, there are varying definitions of an “influencer,” and the term is now so widespread that Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary includes in its definition a specific note about influencers on social media, as follows: “a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.”
More broadly speaking, the term generally refers to someone who is able to generate awareness and/or a shift in perception of something, potentially resulting in consideration, intent, and/or conversion and/or change in behavior. On social media, an influencer’s degree of influence is measured by specific and measurable indicators. These differ from platform to platform but generally include the influencer’s number of followers, subscribers, views, and “likes.” An influencer can have anywhere from hundreds to millions of such indicators.
In furtherance of the Unfair Competition Committee’s charge to monitor new developments in the area of unfair competition law, the Committee’s article entitled “Recent Developments in Influencer Marketing and Unfair Competition” provides a high-level summary of recent developments in the intersection of unfair competition law and influencer marketing.
This recently published article covers various countries in different regions where recent developments have been publicized. In many countries, there are only the beginning developments of a legal framework for addressing issues of unfair competition with regard to the activities of influencer marketing. In those cases, the article covers the most relevant information readily available. The article is not intended as an exhaustive presentation of all relevant legal developments but rather to act as a springboard for further monitoring of this up-and-coming area.