Consumer News

Ad or Not? Neil Patrick Harris and Heineken

Despite the inflatable pool toy, this type of influencer marketing doesn't float.


Consumer News

Ad or Not? Neil Patrick Harris and Heineken

Happy [now belated] 4th from actor Neil Patrick Harris, who enjoyed the holiday floating in the pool with some conspicuously placed Heineken. What’s more American than celebrating with a family BBQ and some beer?

The actor ditched a more clear and conspicuous disclosure, such as #ad, for the more ambiguous #HeinekenLightPartner in the caption.

Taking a closer look at this post also left us wondering about the target audience of this ad, given that Instagram is a popular social media app with teens and young adults. According to the Beer Institute, an alcohol industry self-regulatory group, advertisers should only place beer ads where at least around 70 percent of the audience is expected to be adults of legal drinking age. A placement will be considered compliant, according to the Institute, if the audience composition data reviewed prior to placement meets the percentage.

We reached out to Heineken asking how it ensured that roughly 70 percent of NPH’s followers were of legal drinking age and why its pitchman ditched #ad. Check back for updates.

Neil Patrick Harris and his inflatable Pegasus have reason to worry, since the FTC recently warned a number of influencers that marketing that isn’t sufficiently disclosed just isn’t going to float anymore.

Read more of’s coverage of When an individual (or cute pet) promotes a good or service, primarily on social media, because they were paid to do so, or because of a material connection between the person (or pet) and the company here.

UPDATE 7/14/17: Following publication of this piece, Harris deleted the post in question. Perhaps adding disclosures to two previous Heineken posts, which are still live on his profile here and here, will be next on his agenda.

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