Priyanka Chopra’s Obagi endorsement and the lack of disclosure

On June 24th, Priyanka Chopra shared a video on Instagram (besides Twitter), along with a lengthy note endorsing American skincare brand Obagi.

What was conspicuously missing is a disclosure that it was a paid promotion. Priyanka could still be Indian (NRI? I don’t know the legal status), but the brand is American. FTC guidelines in the US are fairly categorical and strict that if there is a “material connection” between an endorser and an advertiser – in other words, a connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement – that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless it is already clear from the context of the communication.

In case of the Instagram post, Priyanka starts with, ‘Why I chose Obagi…’. I’m reasonably sure one important context was that Obagi was willing to pay to rope her as a brand ambassador. This is normal, for a celebrity. But what is not, is the clear rules surrounding social media posts, in the US, and her not abiding by them.

In fact, FTC has gone after top celebrities for flouting this rule multiple times. It is strange and surprising that Priyanka is openly flouting FTC’s rules, and that too in a category (skincare) that is under intense scrutiny.

For context, here’s a post by a bigger star, Kim Kardashian, with a disclosure!