Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 6 February 2020
Law stated as at: 10 February 2020
Advice note on #ad
The ASA has released a new advice note on the important of ensuring that ads are easily identifiable. The advice note highlights various issues, but some of the key takeaways include:
- Ads by influencers will often be in the influencer’s usual tone and style, so it is particularly important that such posts are clearly identifiable.
- As before, the ASA recommends:
- using “Ad“, “Advert“, “Advertising” or “Ad Feature” (with or without a ‘#’), and “Advertisement Feature” for advertorials; and
- not using “sponsored“, “supported by“, “funded by“, “gifted“, “thanks to [brand] for making this possible“, “affiliate” or “aff“, “sp“, “spon” and other abbreviations as these are open to varied interpretation.
- Labels must be provided in a timely manner, so before the consumer engages with the post / content.
The full advice note is here.
The ASA and CMA have together updated the guidance for influencers. The update does not contain any material changes from the previous guidance, but has been refreshed and repackaged to be easier to understand for influencers, including handy diagrams. The new page includes a full list of resources produced by the ASA to help both influencers and brands.
The new guidance and other resources are available here.
Why this matters:
As consumers continue following their favourite influencers, brands have continued to focus on influencers as a key part of their marketing strategy. Alongside this continuing trend is the tendency for many influencers are still failing to label their ads appropriately. Some may argue that this is because using #ad does not always properly reflect the commercial relationship in question but all will agree that transparency is key. To that end, exact labelling aside, the refresh is a useful resource for any brand to provide to its influencers to try to avoid an upheld complaint.