50 Bloggers + One Dress + Instagram = Sold Out! UPDATE: Bloggers Did Not Disclose the Collab

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Lord & Taylor paid 50 bloggers to wear the same print handkerchief dress and post photos of themselves wearing it on their Instagram account. The brand wanted to promote it's new Design Lab collection—festival-ready designs a notch or two less boho than Free People.

The scheme worked: The dress sold out in less than a week. Lord & Taylor CMO Michael Crotty tells Yahoo! News:

The goal was to make her stop in her feed and ask why all her favorite bloggers are wearing this dress and what is Design Lab?

Ask—and buy!—they did. Most posts got more than 1,000 likes—Luanna Perez-Garreaud (@luanna90) got 82,000.

The campaign's success underscores the power of the Instagram + fashion bloggers formula. With 300,000 million active users and 25 times higher engagement than any other social media platform, the app's power to sell is becoming obvious to even the least social-savvy brands. And without the ability to link directly to product, campaigns like this (as well as statistics like those produced by Fohr Card), are providing numbers to back up the hype.

UPDATE: However, reports this morning reveal that not one of the 50 bloggers disclosed that the Instagram posts were sponsored, which is required by the FTC (read the rules here). It's shocking, really, that no one at the brand and none of the bloggers would notice the oversight. The rules have existed since 2009 and were strengthened in 2013.

Marketing Land was first to report on the apparent violation, explaining that the FTC demands that disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous.” Lord & Taylor has not yet commented on the debacle, but we'll keep you posted!

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21 Responses

  1. Taylor

    It actually annoyed me seeing so many bloggers I follow wearing the same dress. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Good for Lord and Taylor though


  2. Ombre Digital

    Clever idea for generating excitement, particularly if the majority of the bloggers were around the same level and had similar audiences. Once again, big budgets create experiences in digital that small brands cannot hope to replicate. Sigh.

  3. Caitlin Morton

    This is interesting. I do love the dress and seeing it styled in different ways. I don’t like that they didn’t say it was sponsored by the company. That is deceiving. The one thing I love about these fashion and beauty blogs are people posting about what they actually have used and wear. The authenticity of each site and getting to see everyones individual style! I know that as a fashion/beauty blogger my self the goal is to get post sponsored and paid to do what we love. So in that sense good for these bloggers to be chosen for this. But I think they should have said it was a sponsored post. Too bad for that. But great dress and great styling! Xo

  4. Melody

    I don’t think Lord & Taylor should catch any heat for this. It’s always been my understanding that bloggers held responsibility to disclose a sponsored post. However, I always think of actual blog posts for this rule and not IG.
    I wonder if some of the 50 bloggers thought this way and the nondisclosure was a simple oversight. Or if they were afraid of seeming too spammy on the app.


  5. Bar Timor

    I follow none of these bloggers, though I know at least one
    I tend to follow alternative blogs and they always say what is sponcored . Deceiving your readers isn’t cool and then the guy from the brand expose them… Oh dear


  6. Raquel

    This is a fabulous article! Bloggers are really influencing marketing more than ever. It is amazing how many bloggers are being used for brand ambassadors rather than what would be a “celebrity” position. It really shows how influencing we are! But, a lot of bloggers seem to be moving onto social media and sadly neglecting their blogs. I guess this is just the future of social media power, but nothing is better than a full on blog post.

  7. [email protected]

    As a blogger it behooves you to disclose any sponsored/paid postings. Two words and a # could have just made this a very successful campaign for Lord and Taylor but they and the bloggers blew that. The crazy part is, most of their followers would not have cared if it was an #ad and purchased/liked it anyway.

  8. Bike Pretty

    The FTC enforcement (or threats of enforcement) is extremely disingenuous. Why not go after magazines and newspapers with the same rigor? Or better yet, go after product placement in tv and movies that probably influences even more people?

    If a celebrity is paid to wear an item in public where they will be photographed, are they required to disclose as well? Is it because these bloggers are publishing the content themselves that they have all the burden to note that they were paid to wear that dress?

  9. JoziStyle

    This was a fun story because everyone loves a success story; and we can all afford to turn a blind eye to the fact that none of the bloggers disclosed their reasons for collaborating with Lord & Taylor, but in the end they created great content on their blogs and social media platforms. It was a clever idea that worked this one time.

  10. Katy Amezcua

    I love that dress!! I remember when allll those bloggers posted pictures in the same dress, I was like what?! lol! It was kind of obvious it was sponsored, do they normally disclose it though? It wasn’t really something I noticed. They all looked stunning!

    xo, Katy

  11. chantelle pidgley

    AWSOME !! A clever marketing stratergy -The internet and Blogging is defenatley they way to go .

  12. Jodi

    To me it was obvious that they were all given the dress (disclosed or not) and as obnoxious as it was to see everyone in my feed wearing the same dress on the same day or two in a row the ploy obviously worked.

  13. Natalie

    This is a great marketing tactic. However, as a follower of many of these fashion bloggers the dress started to lose its appeal when I saw that everyone had it. I love when an item is unique and not something that everyone is already wearing.


  14. Mowo

    Incredible ad work I must admit. Really shows that the blogging business is working. They should probably had thought it more through giving it to 50 bloggers in the same area, it must’ve been weird for users to see the dress appear so many times but looking at it from another perpestive users got the chance to see the dress styled in different ways making the product suitable for all kinds of users with different taste so there were something for everyone 🙂


  15. Kathleen

    I think seeing 50 bloggers wearing the same dress, but with their own styling is inspirational. Think of it as 50 different ways to style the same dress and it gives the viewer some fantastic ideas! Dress it up, dress it down, enhance the boho vibe or minimize it. LOVE IT!