OLG Frankfurt on Influencer & Sneaky Advertising

If an influencer recommends a product without specifying its commercial purpose, this constitutes prohibited disguised advertising if he or she is working full-time with the product’s business unit and has business relations with the companies whose business products he recommends.

On this basis, the OLG Frankfurt am Main yesterday banned disguised advertising on Instagram.

The present case is also slightly different from the previously known judgments, about which I have already reported in many ways, see only my entire contributions under the heading Influencer.

The influencer here works as a so-called aquascaper and designs aquarium landscapes. Through his Instagram account he presents aquariums, aquarium accessories and aquatic plants. Among other things, he shows water plants from a company for which he is responsible for the area “social media” according to his own information.

The admonishing competition association classified the product presentations as prohibited editorial advertising. The Landgericht Frankfurt had rejected the application for an injunction against it.

However, the appeal against it was successful before the OLG. The defendant acted unfairly in accordance with Section 3, 5 a para. 6 UWG, the OLG found. It did not make out the commercial purpose of his act, which does not arise directly from the circumstances. The respondent’s Instagram account constitutes a business act. In that regard, any conduct of a person in favour of his own or a foreign undertaking before a transaction which is objectively linked to the promotion of the sale of goods is covered. The website at issue was advertising intended to promote the sale of the aquariums and aquarium accessories presented there.

“That this is a presentation of the on Instagram as (…) “The opponent does not preclude the acceptance of a commercial act because, in the Senate’s assessment, it receives fees or other benefits, such as rebates or encores,” the OLG adds. On the one hand, this is supported by the fact that the defendant is professionally involved in the design of aquarium landscapes. On the other hand, it is not only obvious, but also proves, as regards a company, that it has business relations with the undertakings whose products it presents. “Furthermore, linking the presented products to the Instagram account of the respective manufacturer is a strong indication that the defendant is not only concerned with private expression, but rather by presenting them for a commercial purpose. persecuted,”

the OLG noted.

The commercial act is also liable in that case to induce the consumer to take a commercial decision which he would not otherwise have taken. In that regard, it is sufficient to open a website which makes it possible to look more closely at a particular product. That is the case here.

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