Analysis & Opinion

Pinterest: Don’t be a predator. Be a victim.

April 10, 2012 MullenLowe

There’s been so much talk lately about Pinterest and the potential risks individuals and brands take when they start using the platform. If you believe the hype, when you use Pinterest in the way it was intended to be used, you’re doomed to face legal action for copyright infringement.  Time will tell if that actually happens. Sure there are some opportunistic litigious people out there looking for a payday, but really, isn’t the point of putting content on the Web for it to be shared?

We tell companies that their product IS their content. It’s no secret that advertising is all about finding new and interesting ways to deliver a client’s message and content to consumers. Enter Pinterest. You can play it safe and only pin your own stuff, but that’s akin to only talking about yourself at a cocktail party. If you’re feeling trepidation about starting a page for your brand, why not open it up for pinners to do the work for you? Don’t be the copyright predator; be the copyright victim.

  • Embed the pin-it badge on your site. If you want people to share your content, and you want them to feel comfortable doing so, make it easy for them: Put the plug-in on everything worth sharing.
  • Watermark your PR and Web images. On all your Web images, and images you distribute for PR purposes, you should consider putting a watermarked logo on the lower corner somewhere. As things get pinned and re-pinned, content can get changed and sourcing could get lost. If a blogger covers your new shoe and someone pins the accompanying image, but that blogger’s post goes away for some reason, that leaves the user wondering where to get those great shoes. So let them know in the image itself.
  • Find pinners you love. Many people provide a variety of different ways to reach them on their Pinterest profile page. Look for your favorite journalists/bloggers/personalities and let them know that you have something great to share. A new fall line, new product offerings…all ripe for the pinning.
  • Make a statement. It’s a good idea to have a place on your page that’s easy to update on a regular basis – for example, a blog.  Everyone needs a way to take an idea and have it on the site by the end of the day. Fresh content is pinnable.  And if you’re doing it right, people will be coming back to your site often. Give them something to look at.

Time will tell if being on Pinterest really presents a risk or if that’s just a bunch of hype. What we do know, however, is that if you own the images, you have the right to do what you want with them. And if what you want to do with them is see them on Pinterest, then open up your content and set it free.