A number of Instagram story slides on the influencer’s account featured various items of clothing from different retailers with links to purchase the clothing on the respective websites. In some posts, #AF was disclosed with font colour very similar to the background colour.
The complainant said that they believed the links were part of an affiliate programme and that the influencer posted such content often, either without disclosing the fact that they were affiliate links or hiding the disclosure so that it was difficult to see without screenshotting the post and zooming. They therefore considered the posts to be misleading.
The advertiser/influencer apologised for the oversight and explained that she usually disclosed all affiliate links correctly, advising that this instance was the result of human error. She said that she would educate herself further on affiliate marketing and would disclose all advertisements going forward.
The Complaints Committee considered the complaint and the advertiser/influencer’s response.
They noted the comments in relation to human error and welcomed the advertiser/ influencer’s commitment to ensuring full disclosure going forward.
They considered, however, that where content linked to a brand’s website where consumers could purchase the product depicted, and where an affiliate programme was involved, such content was marketing communication. Therefore, a clear disclosure must be given in the content.
The Committee noted that in some cases a disclosure had been included however it was not clearly visible and did not meet the Code requirements. In other posts, no disclosures had been given and also did not meet the Code requirements. In the circumstances, the Committee considered the posts represented a breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32.
The advertising must not reappear in its current form.