ERSP Refers Advertising for Alo Yoga to FTC for Further Review

New York, NY – Oct. 18, 2018 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has referred direct response advertising for Alo Yoga to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after the marketer declined to state whether it would comply with ERSP’s recommendations to modify or discontinue certain advertisements.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.

The claims at issue included social media posts on Instagram. ERSP questioned whether any material connections existed between the marketer and the numerous individuals promoting Alo Yoga clothing products on Instagram.

These endorsements included pictures and videos on Instagram and comments such as:

  • “Wearing my favorite and most comfortable @aloyoga always!!”
  • “Also, @aloyoga’s summer line just dropped today, and I’m just blown away every season at the new designs and colors. If you ever have any Qs about sizes, fit, style or my faves, lmk! … this outfit is from the new line – top is the Reform bra, and bottoms are the Aura short in Smokey Quartz. The crop sweater is older but a fav.”
  • “Super excited about this new summer @aloyoga bra since I’m now starting to plan my yoga wear around future breastfeeding! 7 more weeks to go!”
  • “Flowing in @aloyoga- (This ripped warrior long sleeve is what I always warm up in :)”
  • “In love with the Smokey Quartz high-waist wrap stirrup leggings by @aloyoga #aloyoga”

The marketer conceded that several individuals named in ERSP’s inquiry are Alo Yoga “ambassadors,” and received free Alo Yoga products and/or other consideration for Instagram posts. During the course of the ERSP proceeding, the marketer said it would voluntarily prepare guidelines for its ambassadors. To date, the company has not revised its advertising to include recommended disclosures.

ERSP determined that Alo Yoga should clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections to influencers, using prominent disclosures and unambiguous language, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

For example, ERSP recommended that the Instagram posts be modified to disclose the material connection between the marketer and the Alo Yoga ambassadors within the first three lines of an Instagram post.

The procedures governing advertising industry self-regulation require marketers to state whether they intend to comply with the terms of an ERSP decision. The marketer in this case did not provide ERSP with a marketer’s statement. As a result, the advertising claims at issue have been referred to the FTC for further review.