Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Myleene Klass and Skechers UK t/a as Skechers
Where: United Kingdom
When: 2 November 2022
Law stated as at: 12 December 2022
Social media star and former recording artist, Myleene Klass, has been censured by the ASA after a social media post and story from her account were challenged on whether they were obviously identifiable as marketing communications for Skechers footwear:
- The post featured an image of Myleene Klass wearing pink trainers and a combat print cap. Text underneath stated, “myleeneklass Pink to make the girls wink”. Below text stated, “@skechers_uk” accompanied by a trainer and cap emoji.
- The social media story featured an image of Myleene and another woman wearing pink plastic clogs. Text stated, “Two Of A Kind We’re Twins”. Text below the image stated, “@the_mutha_ship @skechers_uk didn’t even plan it”.
Skechers told the ASA that they had a contractual relationship with the social media influencer and had asked her to edit the posts or take them down, as well as ensure that all future posts were clearly labelled. In requiring Ms Klass to make amendments to her posts, Skechers demonstrated that they had sufficient control over the content of the posts in conjunction with a payment arrangement, for them to be considered marketing communications falling within the remit of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code). The ASA considered that both Skechers and Ms Klass were, therefore, jointly responsible for ensuring that marketing activity conducted on the celebrity’s social media account promoting the footwear retailer was compliant with the CAP Code.
The ASA then considered whether the posts were obviously identifiable as marketing communications and made clear their commercial intent. The posts appeared on Ms Klass’ account and did not contain any indication that they were marketing communications. The inclusion of “@skechers_uk” was not enough to ensure the posts were obviously identifiable as ads or to make clear that there was a commercial relationship between Skechers and Ms Klass.
Due to the fact that the posts did not feature any label identifying them as marketing communications, the ASA concluded they were not obviously identifiable and breached the code.
Why this matters
The ASA concluded that the ads must not appear again in the forms complained of, and welcomed the assurances from both Skechers and Ms Klass that they would ensure that future posts would be clearly labelled.
The CAP Code states that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such, and that they must make clear their commercial intent if that was not obvious from the context. A clear and prominent identifier, such as “#ad”, “advert” or “ad feature” are very likely to be considered acceptable by the ASA, but it may be necessary to highlight the labels in some way to further ensure that the identifiers are noticeable.