- DJ Khaled has backed off of social media posts that feature liquor brands following complaints from Truthinadvertising.org, or TINA.org, and other watchdog groups that allege content shared by the hip-hop star was not properly labeled as advertising and also that it reached minors, Ad Age reported.
- In a March 29 warning letter to Khaled and his legal team, the groups said that the celebrity's alcohol-focused posts appeared on Snapchat 100 times, on Instagram more than 190 times, on Facebook more than 30 times and on Twitter about 20 times between June 2017 and March 2018, per Ad Age. The organizations claimed that Khaled, sometimes referred to as the "King of Snapchat," did not disclose his ties to the alcohol brands referenced in the posts. Following the complaints, several alcohol brands, including Bacardi and Diageo, released statements distancing themselves from Khaled.
- Some of the posts cited include a Snapchat video where Khaled can be seen pouring Ciroc vodka and Belaire sparkling wine into a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. In an Instagram post, bottles of Ciroc and Belaire can be seen as Khaled holds his son and signs an Epic Records contract renewal. TINA.org hasn't filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission since Khaled has not actively promoted an alcohol brand in the 10 days following the letter, Ad Age said.
Despite dozens of social media posts featuring alcohol brands, it's unclear whether Khaled actually had paid partnerships with any of these companies or whether he was just posting about products that he likes. The news sheds light on the difficulties that can arise for marketers when it comes to influencers and celebrity ambassadors on social media, who don't always act in ways or share content that aligns with a brand's values and sometimes aren't even working with the brands they post about.
The FTC has recently been cracking down harder on social media influencers who do not properly disclose whether or not their posts are sponsored. The agency last year sent letters to 90 celebrities, athletes and social media stars warning them on the issue. In September, the FTC also settled its first-ever complaint against gaming industry influencers Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "Syndicate" Cassell for not disclosing their relationship to a business they promoted.
Booze brands have at the same time become more careful about advertising on social media to ensure that their ads aren't delivered to underage consumers. Diageo in January suspended all of its Snapchat advertising worldwide after the U.K. watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority said the company failed to ensure that one of its Captain Morgan campaigns wasn't seen by users not of legal drinking age.