Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Primark Stores Ltd (Primark)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 27 October 2021
Law stated as at: 11 November 2021
In October 2021, the ASA ruled that an Instagram post by influencer Gabby Allen breached the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) on the basis that it was not clearly identifiable as a marketing communication. The Instagram post featured an image of the influencer with the caption “Feeling fab but chilled Wearing these jeans and top from one and only @primark #iworkwithprimark“. The full caption could only be seen once a user clicked on the post.
It was challenged whether the post could be clearly identified as a marketing communication.
Primark argued that they believed the hashtag #iworkforprimark to be sufficiently clear and the word “work” to be understood as meaning that the influencer worked in a commercial capacity for Primark. They further argued that the CAP Code stated that the advertisement should be considered as a whole and as such the label would have been seen when users clicked on the post.
The ASA considered the use of the label #iworkforprimark in the post, which was included at the end of the post caption, however concluded that the term “work” was ambiguous and did not fully explain the relationship between the influencer and Primark. In addition, the label was deemed to be too long and unclear and its meaning not immediately obvious to consumers.
The inclusion of the label at the end of the post caption also meant that users would only see the label after clicking on the post to see the full caption. The ASA ruled that the label was therefore not sufficiently prominent.
Why this matters:
This ruling marks another ASA ruling in relation to insufficient influencer ad labelling on social media and highlights that even the inclusion of the word “work” in a label will not be sufficient to unambiguously label a post as an ad. Advertisers should therefore consider the risk of an ASA ruling where labels other than #Ad #Advert #Advertising etc. are used and ensure that such labels are included at the start of any such posts to avoid the label not being prominently included where the post or caption has more characters than is viewable on social media without clicking on the post.