Reed Smith Client Alerts

They are the stars of the young generation, brand ambassadors for organizations and leaders on social media: influencers. With their strong presence on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, influencers have a power that pays off. Thousands of users follow the day-to-day posts of their role models. Influencers are becoming increasingly important for organizations as well and are developing into indispensable communication carriers of marketing. Accordingly, many organizations cooperate with influencers as part of their marketing strategies.

This article gives an overview of the legal framework that applies to influencers when posting content with promotional character in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.


According to a recent study of the German Association for the Digital Economy (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) e.V.) almost every fifth respondent has already purchased products because they were marketed by influencers.1 Accordingly, it is not surprising that several court cases against influencers for not having properly labeled their posts on social media have received considerable public attention in Germany. In particular, the case against the German celebrity, moderator and wife of German FIFA World Cup winner Mats Hummels, Cathy Hummels, which the Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb brought before the District Court Munich I (Landgericht München I) has been discussed in public (Hummels Case). The Hummels Case deals, inter alia, with distinguishing an influencer’s commercial posts from posts that are of a purely private nature. This question becomes even more important in light of the findings of a recent study carried out by the University of Applied Sciences Berlin according to which a well-balanced mix of private and commercial posts appears to be the most promising strategy for influencers.2 We will discuss the Hummels Case from a legal perspective in more detail below.