With any advertising campaign, it's not just the legal issues that can get you into trouble. You also have to consider whether you're doing anything that may upset consumers. A campaign could fall apart for any number of reasons, such as the way it treats gender, race, religion, health conditions, suicide, safety, or the use of animals, to name a few. We're always keeping our eye on what kinds of non-legal issues may raise red flags.
A recent article in The New York Times, "Is Geotagging on Instagram Ruining Natural Wonders? Some Say Yes," raised the issue for me about what information brands are asking consumers to post in connection with social media promotions. If you're running a photo contest, in light of these concerns, you may not want to have consumers geotag the photo -- or even give the specific location where the photo was shot.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, an organization that works to promote the responsible use of the outdoors, has published Social Media Guidance. These guidelines provide recommendations for how to best use social media when posting about the outdoors. Some of the key recommendations include:
- Tag thoughtfully -- Avoid tagging (or geotagging) specific locations.
- Be mindful of what your images portray -- Give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do.
There may be other reasons to avoid asking people to give specific location-based information (such as privacy and safety concerns as well as considerations about the rights of property owners). But, keeping in mind environmental concerns may not only be good for the outdoors, it may be good for your brand image as well.
"We encourage outdoor enthusiasts to stop and think about their actions and the potential consequences of posting pictures, GPS data, detailed maps, etc., to social media"