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Social media influencers: is your post an #Ad?

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Social media influencers: is your post an #Ad?

With the proliferation of social media influencers, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) are cracking down on advertising posts. Do your posts comply with the current guidelines?

The ASA has just launched an easy to use flow chart to assist social media influencers determine whether their posts meet current rules around advertising. Unfortunately, the ASA and Competition and Markets Authority seem to be in a game of cat and mouse with social influencers over what constitutes an advert and how to regulate the ever-growing world of social media influencing.  

The notion that consumers are drawn to the products used by the rich and famous is clear to see, but consumers should not be mislead or tricked into believing that an influencer uses a product when in reality they are simply being paid to advertise the product in question.

The use of the #Ad was meant to make it clear that a post was in fact paid for advertising. However, things become more difficult when an influencer uses a tag line such as that used by Khloe Kardashian “This is more than just an #Ad because I truly love these delicious, soft, chewy vitamins”. Is this an #Ad or a further way of deceiving consumers? Similarly placing the #Ad strategically in a post so it will fall behind a logo or a fixed image within a post may only serve to confuse or cause uncertainty in consumers.

By providing a clear flowchart the ASA has made it clear that when influencers post about products it needs to be immediately clear and obvious to the person looking at the post. It needs to be labelled or made very clear that it is an ad. The consequences of failing to comply with this guidance could include a referral to Trading Standards who have the power to issue unlimited fines.

This is another example of the ASA taking steps to ensure that consumers are treated fairly and not misled. If you are an influencer or have concerns about your advertising campaign, please contact our Business team who will be able to provide support and assistance.

I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217366 or