Lord Sugar’s tweet banned. Time for a recap on Influencer Marketing rules?
This week Lord Alan Sugar was in the press following an ASA adjudication that was upheld against his tweet for a tooth whitening product. Because Lord Sugar had not made it clear that he was in fact advertising the product, he breached both the CAP Code and the Competition and Markets Authority’s rules about signposting adverts.
With lock-down upon us and social media now at the forefront of most people’s time it is more important than ever that brands and influencers make sure that they run their campaigns right. Lord Sugar’s tweet promoted a company of which he is a a director, and which was founded by a previous winner of The Apprentice, the TV show he hosts. Commercial connections like this require full disclosure, normally in the form of a hashtag or comment in the post, something that has been communicated regularly by both the CMA and the ASA in the past year as Influencer Marketing has become more commonplace.
There has been a noticeable increase in social media posts not being clearly labelled as adverts since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, with so many celebrities holed up at home with nothing more than followers and freebies to occupy their time. However, advertisers need to remember that along with influencers, they are responsible for correctly labelling ads and not misleading the public. Avoiding the rules found in this joint guide from the CMA and the ASA could cost your brand its reputation. To simplify things, these are the most important rules to follow:
- Clearly labelling anything that is an ad: Advertisement Feature, #Ad, Paid Partnership are some examples, but there are no fixed ‘labels’ for disclosing a relationship.
- Remembering that different social media platforms will also affect the format for disclosing the relationship.
- Ensure that the disclosure is always displayed clearly, prominently, and upfront in the post.
- Make sure that the follower is aware that the post is an ad immediately, so disclosure cannot be hidden at the end of a string of hashtags or placed in the middle of a lengthy caption.
- Consumer Protection law applies regardless of whether the brand or the Influencer has editorial control. And both will be held responsible.