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Locke Lord QuickStudy: NAD Approves Using Promotion to Increase Facebook “Likes” For Marketing
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NAD Approves Using Promotion to Increase Facebook “Likes” For Marketing
Promotion Cannot Be Misleading
The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) approves leveraging special deals or discounts to increase “likes” on Facebook, provided the promotion is not misleading.
In the Coastal Contacts case, the NAD reviewed a promotion offered by Coastal Contacts, Inc. (Coastal) on its Facebook page. The promotion leveraged a “free” product offer to increase the number of fans who “like” Coastal. Offering coupons and discounts in exchange for a “like” on the Facebook platform is not uncommon. The NAD concluded such an exchange constitutes a general “social endorsement” and further found such a social endorsement is not misleading to others simply because the “like” was gained through use of a special offer or discount.
NAD Challenge Details
The NAD reviewed Coastal’s advertising practice upon a challenge brought by Coastal’s competitor 1-800 Contacts. Coastal advertised to its Facebook page visitors that they could receive a “free” pair of glasses by clicking the “like” button. Once they clicked the like button, the offer details would be revealed.
1-800-Contacts alleged this was deceptive for two reasons. First, the offer was fraudulent because the material terms of the “free” offer were not disclosed in proximity to the “free” offer. Second, because the allegedly fraudulent “likes” were endorsements that “perpetuate the misleading suggestion that Coastal enjoys broader support than it would actually have in the absence of its misleading ‘free’ promotion.”
Coastal responded that 1-800-Contacts’ position—that consumers who “liked” Coastal’s page based on the “free” offer would not have done so if the offer details were provided at the outset—was unsupported conjecture, and that there was no fraud because there was nothing of value promised or exchanged.
The NAD found that Facebook “likes” mean many things to consumers, including:
- consumers actually like the company, product or service,
- consumers who “liked” the content entered a “like-gated” promotion, contest or sweepstakes, or
- consumers wanted to share content on the company’s page with their Facebook friends.
As a result of the various meanings of a “like,” the NAD determined it was not misleading or deceptive to employ a “like-gated” promotion on a Facebook fan page. Such promotions can deliver giveaways, coupons or discounts in exchange for “liking” the advertiser.
The NAD found Coastal’s free offer needed to be modified to include additional information in close proximity to the word “free.” Despite this flaw, the NAD found that leveraging the offer to obtain “likes” on Facebook was not deceptive since consumers were actually able to obtain a “free” pair of glasses.
The NAD further found that because the benefits of the promotion through “liking” the page were valid, any increased visibility was not fraudulently obtained. The NAD cautioned its conclusion would be different if the record demonstrated that consumers who participated in the “like-gated” promotion were denied the promised benefit or offer.
If you condition participation in a promotion such as a contest, sweepstakes or discount offer, be sure your promotion is not deceptive or misleading. The NAD compared deceptive promotions to other misleading activities such as paying a service to artificially inflate the number of “likes” and requiring employees to “like” their employer’s page without disclosing the employment connection.
For more information on the matters discussed in this Locke Lord QuickStudy, please contact the authors:
Paul C. Van Slyke | T: 713-226-1406 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregory T. Casamento | T: 212-812-8325 | email@example.com
Jason Mueller | T: 214-740-8844 | firstname.lastname@example.org