The ASA received 25 complaints about the ad which featured the pregnant celebrity undressed and holding a mug whilst sitting beside Skinny Caffe weight loss products along with the comment “I’ve been staying in shape with my go to @skinnycaffe products….I love to use them as me and some of the girls have been seeing great results and they work with or without exercise. You can lose up to 7lbs in 7 days with Thermosyn. Right now you can claim your first packet of Thermosyn free by clicking here”.
Three issues were identified by the complaints received;
White Star Key Group, the company behind Skinny Caffe, responded that Jemma Lucy had posted the ad as a favour to a friend and that she hadn’t implied that she used the products whilst pregnant, nor had she written the post’s content.
Despite this the ASA upheld the complaints and told Jemma Lucy and The White Star Key group “to ensure that in future their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, for example, by including a clear and prominent identifier such as “#ad” at the start of the post. We also told Skinny Caffe not to encourage unsafe practices, such as consuming products during pregnancy that were intended to aid weight loss, and not to make claims that referred to a rate or amount of weight loss for foods”.
This clear breach of no less than eight of the CAP Code’s rules, not to mention those of the Competition & Markets Authority and current guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) brings to light everything that is wrong with Influencer Marketing: fake claims, a lack of transparency and highly misleading and dangerous to the young and the vulnerable.
A recent analysis by The Telegraph revealed that complaints to the ASA against influencers had greatly increased – 793 in the first half of 2019 compared to just 352 for the whole of 2018 which shows that a backlash against influencer marketing is emerging. This together with calls from NHS England and medical experts to ban posts promoting dangerous diets and products could eventually lead to the government having to step in and legislate to prevent abuse of the rules. Denmark is one country leading the way with its plans to regulate influencer marketing after a popular social media star posted a suicide note on Instagram.
What do you need to do to avoid a ruling? The rules about social media endorsements and influencer marketing are quite clear.
To find out more about the rules you can view the CMA’s comprehensive guidance here as well as a guide by the ASA. Alternatively, PromoVeritas can help you with any aspect of running social media campaigns right, simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.