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Stealth advertising Two Swiss sports celebrities rebuked over Instagram posts

mountain biker Jolanda Neff

The decision concerns Instagram posts by mountain biker Jolanda Neff (in photo) and snowboard champion Iouri Podladtchikov

(© Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller)

The Swiss Fairness Commission has rebuked two influencers over non-declared advertising made in posts made on Instagram, Swiss public television SRF has learned.

The decision concerns a post each by snowboard champion Iouri Podladtchikov and mountain biker Jolanda Neff, according the SRF reportexternal link published on Friday. SRF has seen the decisions, which are the first in Switzerland concerning influencer advertising.

The move comes after the Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protectionexternal link filed a complaint with the Swiss Fairness Commissionexternal link against Swiss tennis star Roger Federer and several other celebrity “influencers”, accusing them of “stealth advertising” on Instagram and other social media sites.

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


Nevertheless, the head of the Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protection, Sara Stalder, told SRF that the decisions in both cases sent a strong signal, as the confirmation of the association’s complaint “made things clear for influencers”.

A spokeswoman for Podladtchikov said they would not be commenting at present; Neff’s manager told SRFexternal link that the athlete accepted the decision and was pleased that the chapter was now closed. 

The Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protection 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. 

Product placement Complaint filed against Federer and other Instagram influencers

A Swiss consumer protection organisation has filed a complaint against Swiss celebrity “influencers”, accusing them of “surreptitious advertising”.

This content was published on June 25, 2019 9:57 AM


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