The news: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and seven states sued iHeartMedia and Google for misleading radio ads from 2019 in which hosts endorsed Google’s Pixel 4 phone without ever using the product, violating truth-in-advertising rules.
Spon-con: Influencer marketing exploded during the pandemic and has proved to be a more resilient advertising format than other digital channels. But increased spending has turned the space into a Wild West for advertisers of all sizes, catching regulators on the back foot to enforce standards.
No stone left unturned: US regulators put their foot on the gas pedal in 2022 when it came to pressuring the digital advertising industry, and its scope extends beyond influencer marketing.
Our take: Google and iHeartRadio’s misstep is a sign that US regulators are trying to rectify a lack of advertising standards and enforcement . But those changes are coming at a troubled time for the digital ad world, which will have to adapt to new standards quickly to make it out of the ad spend downturn unscathed.