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Complaint filed against Federer and other Instagram influencers

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The Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protection accuses Swiss influencers of not correctly labelling certain Instagram posts as advertising. Keystone / Sascha Steinbach

A Swiss consumer protection organisation has filed a complaint against Swiss tennis star Roger Federer and several other celebrity “influencers”, accusing them of “stealth advertising” on Instagram and other social media sites. 

This content was published on June 25, 2019 - 09:57
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The Swiss Foundation for Consumer ProtectionExternal link lodged the complaint with the Swiss Fairness CommissionExternal link against several celebrities including Federer and Olympic snowboard champion Iouri Podladtchikov, accusing them of not correctly labelling certain Instagram and Facebook posts as advertising. 

“In a video, Roger Federer shows the logo of his clothing supplier, snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov has himself photographed at the entrance to a clothing store, [model/actress/TV host] Michelle Hunziker thanks various shops for their support at a fashion shoot, cyclist Jolanda Neff distributes a contribution from a credit card company and influencer Xenia Tchoumitcheva promotes jewellery. All of these contributions lack any indication that they are advertising,” the foundation wrote in a statement on Monday.External link

It says these are examples of “stealth advertising” by professional influencers who have advertising contracts, some run by management teams.

Screenshot Instagram @RogerFederer


Currently, the celebrities do not have to fear fines, as the Swiss commission can only issue warnings.

The foundation is demanding stricter rules against product placement and secret online advertising, similar to those found in neighbouring European countries.

Currently, the Swiss law against unfair competition and guidelines for fair advertising state that advertising must be properly labelled, but do not specify how. The foundation points to best practices in countries like Sweden, which it says has much clearer guidelines to identify when a post is an advert via the use of hashtags, different fonts and layouts. 


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