I recommend every PR/Social Media agency in existence read Andy Senovitz’s post: Can Word of Mouth Marketing get me in trouble?
2. WOM marketing without disclosure is illegal.
Any form of deceptive word of mouth campaigns are illegal. This include any program where you are:
- Asking buzzers to recommend your product without disclosing that they are part of a campaign or received and incentive.
- Falsely representing your employees/agents as consumers.
- Asking buzzers to claim they like your product when they don’t, or never tried it.
Will it be strictly enforced? Combined with a few more ‘whistleblower’ hotlines I wouldn’t bet against it. How many rival companies wouldn’t take the opportunity to point out a patently false viral campaign?