The Danish Consumer Ombudsman reports manufacturer of toothpaste for hidden advertising

The Danish Consumer Ombudsman has reported Unilever to the police for violating the prohibition against hidden advertising in the Danish Marketing Practices Act after it advertised Pepsodent toothpaste on a female singer's Instagram profile according to an oral arrangement with the singer.

Under section 4 of the Danish Marketing Practices Act an advertisement is to be designed in such a way that it will be clearly understood to be an advertisement irrespective of its form and irrespective of the medium in which it is presented

In the opinion of the Consumer Ombudsman it was not clear to the readers that the pictures and the references to Pepsodent on the singer's Instagram profile constituted advertising and it was not sufficient to clarify the advertising purpose that the individual postings on the profile were hashtagged "#Pepsodent." The Consumer Ombudsman also notes that the postings on the Instagram profile were placed together with the singer's private postings, which may have increased the consumer's doubts as to the advertising content.

This emphasises that the Consumer Ombudsman regards the violation of the prohibition against hidden advertising as a serious matter and focuses on the consumers not being in any doubt as to whether they are exposed to advertising. It is also clear that the Consumer Ombudsman does not find that it is sufficient that the posting is provided with a hashtag with the name of the product or the business.

Therefore it is important that businesses are aware of the risk of hidden advertising when using bloggers and celebrities to promote their products in social media and on blogs. Always provide clear guidelines for your business's policy and guidelines for the use of bloggers and celebrities when promoting products in order not to violate the rules of the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

Read more about the police report filed by the Danish Consumer Ombudsman (in Danish)

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