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December 8, 2014
FTC Fusses About Agency Tweets
 
One of the bigger deals with regulating Adspeak in social media is when a brand or an agency has to be transparent. Transparent, meaning that those consuming the messages online can tell if the message coming from the speaker is a personal one or a message with the backing of a certain organization.

The FTC has been waiting to pounce on an agency or brand that makes the first mistake. Deutsch L.A. was its huckleberry.

It is common practice that agency personnel post positive things about the brands they have on contract on their social media. The fact that the FTC is forcing the agency to settle out of court or else face a lawsuit is silly.

Can't the "opt-in" action — when people willingly follow a person in an agency — protect agency personnel? Those who follow those people should have a clear understanding that they are in a business that represents brands in order to make those brands look good.

Oh, wait...maybe not. We continually forget that people still have a difficult time understanding what marketing people — especially agency people — do on an everyday basis.

Apparently the FTC does, too.

Though our society really isn't as litigious as it could be, we are definitely heading towards unfavorable territory. How can brands and agencies be creative when more laws restricting expression and creativity pop up on the books? A tough question, for sure.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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