A post on the influencer’s Instagram account featured the influencer posing inside an arcade with the caption:
“Off to the cinema to see Hustlers. Wearing something comfy to make room for nachos! @jdsportsie #JDie #backtouni #jdsports #comfycasual #cyclingshortstyle #championsweatshirt #nikeairforce1 #airforce1flatform”
A second post featured the influencer posing outside a coffee shop together with the caption:
“No Monday blues here. Obsessed with the new Nike Airforce1 Shadows from @jdsportsie #iamjd #airforce1shadow #airforce1style”
The complainant considered that the posts indicated a commercial relationship between the influencer and the brand which was not disclosed. They therefore felt the posts were misleading.
The influencer confirmed that she had received payment for the posts in question and that the brand had control over the content. She advised that she had been instructed by the brand which hash tags to include in her posts and that, as ‘#sp’ or similar had not been specifically mentioned by the brand, she neglected to include this in the posts in question. She apologised for this oversight and acknowledged that it was her responsibility to ensure transparency in all posts, which she said she would implement going forward in line with ASAI guidelines.
The advertisers said that the agreement which was in place with the influencer included an obligation on her to comply with all applicable advertising guidelines. They said that, following receipt of the complaint, they sent the influencer the latest guidelines issued by the ASAI to remind her of her obligations and asked her to update the relevant posts to ensure compliance.
The advertisers explained their general process to ensure compliance with the relevant advertising regulations and to accommodate the large volume of influencers they engage. They said that they run an ad hoc checking process from time to time. If a post was identified as a breach of the regulations during this process, they contacted the influencer immediately, asked them to update their post accordingly and reminded them of their obligations to comply with the relevant advertising standards and regulations.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint, and the influencers’ and advertisers’ response, including their general approach to ensuring compliance with the Code.
They acknowledged that the posts in question had been amended and welcomed the influencer’s commitment to ensure transparency in future advertising. They considered, however, that the posts in question should have been hash tagged correctly to indicate the existence of a commercial relationship with the brand and that the posts were marketing communications
In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the posts were in breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32.
Action Required: As the posts in question had already been amended, no further action was required in relation to the advertising complained about.
The Committee reminded all involved in the creation of marketing communications of the importance of ensuring that all marketing communications were recognisable as such.