Fit Tea Agrees to Get Kardashians to Disclose They're Paid to Pitch

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Fit Tea has agreed to modify posts by the Kardashians for its products to make clear they were compensated endorsements following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division, the group said today. The move underscores the necessity for advertisers to disclose then they are paying influencers for social posts.

A social-media pitch by Khloe Kardashian caries the #spon hashtag.
A social-media pitch by Khloe Kardashian caries the #spon hashtag. Credit: Twitter

The marketing industry self-regulatory body, administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, launched the review last year after seeing a flurry of social-media posts from Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner endorsing Fit Tea. The trio have variously claimed that the product helps people lose weight and detoxify their bodies.

After the NAD inquired, Fit Tea said it had revised posts by celebrity endorsers to "disclose material connections" and that future posts would follow Federal Trade Commission guidelines requiring celebrities disclose when they're paid to make social-media endorsements, according to a statement by the group.

A quick social-media search today, however, still found posts made last year by the trio that didn't bear "#spon" or "#ad" hashtags to indicate they were paid endorsements, though it was also clear from comments that many people clearly knew they were paid for anyway.

In a statement, NAD Assistant Director Laura Brett said, "We ask that participants modify any advertising that remains in the marketplace so that these endorsements can either be modified to add a disclosure or removed. We give all participants a 'reasonable' amount of time after receiving our decisions to modify their advertising." That time can vary depending on the format, with the expectation that it takes longer to change packaging than social-media posts, she said.

Fit Tea didn't immediately respond to email and phone requests for comment.

Kourtney Kardashian plugs Fit Tea in a Twitter post without sponsorship disclosure.
Kourtney Kardashian plugs Fit Tea in a Twitter post without sponsorship disclosure. Credit: Twitter

Separately last year, Fit Tea modified or dropped some claims from its website and discontinued customer testimonials there that made claims it had agreed to permanently discontinue, including that its products boost immunity, burn fat, raise energy or support metabolism.

In its advertiser statement, Fit Tea said it "respectfully disagrees" with the NAD's position that an advertiser must always have a scientific study that establishes a direct correlation between the amount of a dietary ingredient in a product the quantity of the same ingredient in a supporting scientific report. But it agreed to follow the recommendations.

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