TOKYO, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government started to forbid stealth marketing, a practice in which companies promote their products or services while concealing the fact that it is an advertisement, with the new regulation taking effect on Sunday.
Social media networks have been witnessing a growing number of stealth marketing cases, where influencers are asked by companies to recommend their products without being overtly promotional, pretending not to have any relationship with the firms.
The country's Consumer Affairs Agency has banned such practices under the law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representation, which becomes operative starting Oct. 1.
Including undercover promotions and advertisements in the scope of stealth marketing, the new law applies to all forms of media, including television, newspapers and the Internet.
The regulation requires advertisements to prominently display phrases such as "advertisement", "promotion" and "PR" in order to distinguish them from stealth marketing.
If the regulators identify violations, they may ban an advertisement, or request measures be taken to prevent recurrences.
The Word of Mouth Japan Marketing Association, which comprises over 60 advertising agencies and other companies that conduct online word-of-mouth marketing, has revised its advertising display guidelines in line with the start of the new regulation.
Local media reports also showed that many advertising companies and influencers active on social media networks are studying details of the regulation to avoid unintentional stealth marketing.