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Could Kanye West’s #YeezySeason6 Campaign Could Be Illegal?

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Image: Yeezy

Kanye West has unveiled the latest in his YEEZY Season 6 campaign and he’s has been using stars like Paris Hilton, Amina Blue and a host of other influencers to re-create Kim Kardashian’s paparazzi YEEZY lookbook. But, it seems what Kanye is doing could be illegal. Overall, according to The Fashion Law, this particular marketing route – even though its edgy and pretty damn clever – could be against FTC laws requiring influencers to fully disclose when posting sponsored content.

“The social media marketing campaign, which also stars Kim K’s old pal Paris Hilton, is undeniably inventive. It’s buzz-worthy. It’s everything that most fashion brands are not at the moment,” writes TFL’s Julie Zerbo. “But here is something you will not read in others’ coverage of this noteworthy fashion moment: It is almost certainly illegal.”

Currently, under FTC’s rules, if you are promoting a product on Instagram, you must state that on your post. Right now, literally thousands of influencers are adding a hashtag #ad to their posts, all in order to meet these guidelines. These rules are in place so consumers can easily identify if something is a paid promotion or an ad, and if “a significant minority” of consumers can’t tell if something is an ad or not, then this means the campaign will be considered deceptive by the FTC, thus making it against the law.

“Regardless of whether Instagram users can identify the commercial nature of the Yeezy posts, what is clear in the case at hand is that there is a ‘material connection’ at play between the YEEZY brand and the many individuals enlisted to appear in the campaign,” continues Zerbo. “And that connection is one that consumers would almost certainly not view as an ad campaign.”

Currently, it’s unclear whether all the celebrities partaking in the campaign are getting paid to do so, but this is clearly a gray area. Some will argue that any clothes received by the people that took part in it, whether before the campaign started or down the road, could also be seen as a “payment”, which entitle the campaign being classified as a commercial one, and thus once again, straying into the not so legal territory again.

We’ll keep monitoring the events related to this in the forthcoming weeks. While we certainly don’t wanna state any verdicts until all the information is out there, we can clearly say that Kanye West is a marketing genius. The sheer level of free press his campaign is receiving right now, could easily trump any fines or issues arising from the potentially illegal ad campaign.

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