Warner Bros. Smacked for Deceptive Video Game Promotions
The National Law Journal
The FTC reached a settlement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. over allegations the company failed to clearly disclose that it paid online “influencers”—including the popular PewDiePie—for videos promoting “Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor,” a video game loosely based on The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
As part of the late-2014 digital marketing campaign, Warner Bros. instructed the influencers to include a disclosure in the description box below the videos. But the disclosure was buried “below the fold” in the description box and only visible if viewers clicked the “show more” button, according to the FTC complaint. On social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, where the influencers were told to promote their YouTube videos, the posts did not include the “show more” button, according to the FTC.
“Consumers have the right to know if reviewers are providing their own opinions or paid sales pitches,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau. “Companies like Warner Brothers need to be straight with consumers in their online ad campaigns.”