A Guide to Influencer Marketing Compliance in Japan

A Guide to Influencer Marketing Compliance in Japan

In the realm of influencer marketing, understanding and adhering to the legal landscape is crucial to building successful campaigns in Japan. Additionally, Japan has strict regulations concerning false advertising and deceptive practices. In this article, we will discuss some points that international companies might not be aware of, so please read until the end!

Regulation on Stealth Marketing

Since October 1st, 2023, Japan updated their law regarding stealth marketing in which influencers or others are paid to promote products and services to their followers without disclosing a financial interest, the government said Tuesday. The Consumer Affairs Agency has regarded stealth marketing as "improper representation," an activity banned under the law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations. The law was made to avoid consumers’ inability to make informed purchasing decisions when marketing of products and services are done without disclosure.

Advertising that requires substantiation

Any representation to the general consumer that claims a level of superiority significantly beyond the actual quality of goods or services, or falsely asserts significant superiority over similar goods from other companies in the same industry, is considered a misleading representation under the AUPMR (Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations). In response to such acts, the CAA has the authority to request companies to submit data showing reasonable grounds in support of the representation, as outlined in paragraph 2 of article 7. Advertising claims based on the results of surveys (such as “No.1”, or “the highest level”) must be done in an accurate and fair manner, and make representations within the scope of the evidence. Accordingly, it is better to mention whom and when the survey was conducted.

Cultural Sensitivity in Japanese Influencer Marketing

In addition to the legal matter, Japan's rich cultural tapestry requires marketers to approach influencer collaborations with a deep understanding of cultural norms and values. Japanese consumers value authenticity and sincerity, and this should be reflected in influencer content. Brands should carefully select influencers whose personal brand aligns with the cultural preferences of the target audience. Moreover, Japanese consumers are often discerning and seek products and services that seamlessly integrate into their daily lives. Influencers who can authentically incorporate products into their content, reflecting genuine usage and benefits, are more likely to resonate with the audience. Brands must prioritize cultural sensitivity in influencer marketing campaigns to ensure they are well-received and contribute positively to the brand's image.

In conclusion, achieving compliance in Japanese influencer marketing requires a dual focus on legal adherence and cultural understanding. The consequences of violating these regulations can range from financial penalties to damage to the reputation of both the influencer and the brand. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the legal framework is essential for all stakeholders engaged in influencer marketing activities in Japan. Brands that navigate the legal landscape, prioritize cultural sensitivity stand a better chance of creating impactful and successful influencer marketing campaigns in Japan.

Please be aware of this new regulation so that your company can comply with Japanese law. Feel free to consult with us first before implementing marketing strategies in Japan!

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