ASA cracks down on ignorant influencers. Are you up to date with the latest rules?
The ASA has warned between 200 and 300 social media influencers over the past 12 months that they were breaking the rules about revealing advertising that has been paid for. According to Campaign this is an estimate of the work the ASA has assumed as the UK’s official advertising watchdog, both online and offline and it could spell the end of self-regulation if it continues.
Brands and agencies who plan to involve influencers in their marketing must be certain they are following the ASA’s rules and regulations – the responsibility falls on both the influencer and the promoter’s shoulders – so here’s a brief recap of them.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is a powerful alternative to more traditional forms of marketing, involving the use of public figures to influence consumers predominantly on social media. It has evolved rapidly over the last few years and in 2018 over 80% of brands had some sort of relationship with an influencer. These influencers generally have an above average amount of followers and the ability to capture the attention of hundreds of thousands of people with a single post.
Influencers and celebrities should always make it clear when content is ‘paid-for’ under the ASA’S rules. Guy Parker, CEO at the ASA stated that “…people shouldn’t have to play the detective to work out if they’re being advertised to. This means the status of a tweet, blog, vlog, Instagram post or story should be clear.”
What are the 4 main categories of content?
- Clearly promoted posts influencer has a commercial relationship with the brand (cash or freebies) and the brand has element of editorial control
- Affiliate marketing – content links directly to product or discount code
- Own ads promoting own influencer’s own products, competitions etc.
- Advertorials –brand paid for the placement and has full editorial control
The CAP Code says ads ‘must be obviously identifiable as such’ which means you need to clearly label all ads.
Recommended ad labels
Remember, these labels should always be placed at the beginning of a post clearly, and that they should be clear and not ambiguous. There are also some labels which you should stay a
way from as they could cause potential issues.
- #Spon / #Sponsored / #Sponsorship / #Sp
- In association with, Thanks to…, @brand
It is vital that both brands and influencers are labelling Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts accurately as well as Snapchat images and videos to avoid a breach. An upheld ASA Ruling will mean that your post will most likely be pulled and you will be warned not produce something like this again, not to mention the bad publicity on social media. Last year there were numerous cases in the press where reality television and showbiz stars such as Louise Thompson and Marnie Simpson did not follow the rules, which lead to a decline in consumer trust and controversy within social media. Our main concern is the introduction of government legislation to counteract the deluge of misleading influencer ads. The end of self-regulation will make the industry slow, painful and creatively bland – things that PromoVeritas have helped brands and agencies avoid so far.
Ultimately your advertised posts need to…
- Be prominent
- Timely – consumers should be aware before they engage with a post on social media to know whether it is an ad
- Include the T&Cs if there’s a promotion involved