Beware of Influencers and Their Engagement in Undercover Advertising Campaigns

By Clemente Ferrer


There is covert publicity cynically carried out by

YouTube users and influencers, people who have a lot of credibility for their presence and influence on social networks. These can become prescribers of interest for a brand. They have found fame and money in the heat of social networks. It is clear that the influencers’ collaborations with brands should be shown as such in social networks. And that not doing so would deceive the consumers and abuse their good faith.

That the influencers make the unforgivable mistake of undercover advertising on the Social Web is not excusable at all. Many of these prescribers are teenagers who have come to fame from the intimacy of their bedroom. They are not professionals and do not have any lawyer to protect them and warn them of the dangers of undercover advertising. In social networks, denounces the former youtuber Oguz Yilmaz in an article for W&V, we see footballers every day posting posts (articles are published in the body of the blog, and are arranged chronologically). Usually each post has a title and an article body where the celebrity can enter text, photography, audio, and even video about his wonderful new sneakers. There are also actresses bragging on Instagram of their new dress from a famous brand.

It is clear that these types of posts are part of commercial agreements so they should be marked as advertising. Yes, but what is really important, when it comes to talk about covert advertising, is to expose the influencers. Undercover advertising is a problem for everyone, influencers and youtubers, advertising agencies and advertisers. “It’s a pity that so many people continue to use a double standard to judge lucrative covert advertising on social networks,” concludes Yilmaz.

Author and journalist Clemente Ferrer has led a distinguished career in Spain in the fields of advertising and public relations. He is currently President of the European Institute of Marketing. Email:


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