Last week, members of the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance presented the webinar "INFLUENCER MARKETING: REGULATION IN LATINOAMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN”. It was the second webinar conducted in Spanish organized by the association with more than 200 registrants from the region.
Our goal with this new format of webinar in Spanish was to expand our audience, making our content available in a “friendlier” format to local companies in Latam but also to marketing people and legal staff located in the region, and so we did!
The webinar was presented by Paula Fernandez Pfizenmaier from Randle Legal (Argentina), Alejandro Alterwain from Ferrere (Uruguay), Oscar Molina from Albagli Zaliasnik (Chile), Jaime Angeles from Angeles & Pons (Dominican Republic), Uri Weinstok from BLP (Costa Rica) and Jose Antonio Arochi from Arochi & Lindner (Mexico).
Here is a recap of the key issues we discussed during the webinar:
- We all agreed that most countries from the Caribbean and Latin America, due to the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, have seen a marked increase in the activity of influencers and as a result companies are most likely than ever to promote their brands on social media;
- Most countries in Latam & the Caribbean do not have local legislation regulating the activity of influencers. Some Self-regulatory bodies (e.g. CONAR Chile and CONARP Argentina) have guidelines for best practices for advertising in digital media, including social media. However, those guidelines are not mandatory by law/ legally binding.
- Despite specific regulation on the matter, most countries in the region have general principles claiming that “advertising must be decent, honest and truthful”, which should also apply to influencers’ content. However, authorities at local level are not enforcing those principles when it comes to influencers’ posts. As a consequence, influencers' feeds, stories and any other available space in their social media platforms are full of undercover ads or commercial content disguised as recommendations, suggestions and brand/company mentions, but most of them do not disclose properly the material connection between brands and influencers.
- It´s not rare to see that influencers make claims that the brand could not do or substantiate. All speakers agreed on the importance of signing agreements with influencers they work with including liability clauses and guidelines on what they can and cannot do. Controlling periodically their influencers’ post is also advisable. Brands could be liable for the content of a post if there is a material connection between the influencer and the brand.
- Towards the end of the webinar, speakers exchanged their thoughts on whether specific regulation is needed in the region in this regard or, on the contrary, it would be more effective to rely on the general principles arising from their legal framework and have guidelines on the interpretation of such principles, as the FTC does in the USA. We all agreed that this second alternative is the path to follow, as long as local authorities assume the control and enforcement of such principles with regard to influencers ´content on social media platforms.
Finally, our members updated the audience on some of the key rules and recent developments in the region regarding proper disclosures, claims, and other useful guidelines that marketers should keep top of mind when working with influencers during these times.