Back at CES rapper 50 Cent unveiled a new headphone brand that he was part of that carried the rappers name. This is nothing new, the headphone market is flooded with headphones that have the name of various artists and Monster with its Beats by Dre line is one for the most prolific.
I am not a fan of the style of the Monster offerings but the Sleek by 50 Cent headphones are cool with a design that uses a carbon fiber look and black. The things also promise to sound good. Apparently, while at CES promoting the headphones 50 Cent tweeted something about the headphones and urged followers to buy stock in the company.
Enough of the rappers followers actually did buy stock in the company that it set off a wave of comments because 50 Cent didn’t notify the users in the Tweet that he owned a part in the company as well. Considering his name is on the product, I would think most folks understand the rapper is part of the company. Apparently, the ruckus is because the FTC has stated already that when people associated with company advertise for it they have to disclose their ties.
According to Tom Chernaik, CEO of CMP.LY, "This is a classic example of a shrewd entrepreneur using social media to get the word out about something that they believe in; and in this case, have a personal financial stake in. Unfortunately, without knowing it, by virtue of those Tweets, 50 Cent is now in the crosshairs of a great online debate. The use of social media promotion to raise the share price of a fledgling company is certainly a concern, not necessarily from SEC regulations but, rather, under the FTC Guidelines for Testimonials and Endorsements. The guidelines, updated in late 2009 require endorsers to disclose when they have material connections to the brands and products that they promote. In this example, there certainly seems to be a connection that might come as a surprise to the average reader."