TINA, a consumer organization monitoring American advertising, sent warning letters to several high-profile celebrities. In question, their purchases of non-fungible tokens (NFT), which according to her should have been considered as advertisements. The point on this gray area.
Celebrities pinned for their NFT purchases
Truth In Advertizing (TINA) is a consumer organization that monitors how businesses and individuals advertise products and services. She yesterday confirmed that she had sent letters to several celebrities, who would have bought non-fungible tokens (NFT) and communicated about them. In total, 13 people have been pinned, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria, Floyd Mayweather, Tom Brady, DJ Khaled, Paris Hilton and Justin Bieber.
What does TINA accuse them of? Of doing the equivalent of hidden advertising, according to the press release:
“Whether [ces célébrités] have a material connection with the NFT companies they promote, this connection must be clearly and visibly shown in their publication, as required by Federal Trade Commission laws.»
TINA explains that it sent letters two months ago to Reese Witherspoon and Justin Bieber, who had promoted NFT World of Women and inBetweeners respectively:
Justin Bieber’s publication, which invites its subscribers to “join the community” inBetweeners
According to TINA, Justin Bieber’s legal team denied wrongdoingalthough she confirmed that the post would be updated – which was not done.
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How to consider NFTs and their promotion?
The TINA is in its role by displaying such vigilance, but we can recall that this is still a fairly gray area of advertising. If we consider NFTs as products sold by companies, their promotion must indeed be considered from this angle. But if we consider that NFTs are pieces of art, just like a painting, then the legislation surrounding them could be different.
According to TINA, this is the interpretation made by Reese Witherspoon’s legal team:
“[Elle a] explained that his […] partnership with World of Women was created to encourage women to invest in NFTs […] without expectation of a financial return in exchange. In reality, according to Witherspoon’s legal team, the partnership provides no material or financial benefit to the latter.»
It is this last point that is debatable. A celebrity may not be linked to a project, but she can use her influence to make the latter known, pushing up NFT prices at the same time. The debate is likely to be long on this subject, but we will retain the conclusion of TINA, which is universal:
“It is crucial that consumers conduct their own independent research if they are considering buying these risky digital assets.»
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Source: TINA.org – Image: Budiey via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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