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Medium: Internet (Social Media)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.31, 3.32, 4.1, 4.4
The complainant considered that the post indicated a commercial relationship between the influencer and the brand which was not disclosed. They therefore felt the post was misleading.
The influencer confirmed that she had received payment for the post in question. She said that she had been instructed by the brand to include the Instagram ‘paid partnership’ feature in her post and that she had requested the brand set up this feature for her at the time of the agreement. She said that, as the inclusion of ‘#sp’ or similar had not been specifically instructed by the brand, she neglected to include such identifiers in the post. She apologised for the 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 required her to properly identify any social media advertisements on Instagram by way of including the Instagram ‘paid partnerships’ feature. Alternatively, they said, she could include ‘#ad’ in the post. They said that, following receipt of the complaint, they had liaised with the influencer to remind her of her contractual obligations and the importance of upholding the ASAI Code. They advised that they had also asked her to amend the post in question to include ‘#ad’.
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 post in question had been amended and welcomed the influencer’s commitment to ensure transparency in future advertising. They considered, however, that the post should have been marked or hash tagged correctly to indicate the existence of a commercial relationship with the brand and that the post was a marketing communication.
In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the post was in breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32.
As the post 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.