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Product: Health & Beauty
Advertiser: X CaraDenise X
Medium: Social Media (Blogger's Own Page)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.31, 3.32, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.8, 8.9, 8.10, 8.11, 8.14(f), 8.26, 8.27
The stories from the influencer’s social media promoting a weight-loss product from a third-party company stated the following:
“Taking pre orders now for Junes order
Magic potion in a glass aka trim juice
Helping me lose weight, get more energy, smash my 6k everyday, boosting my metabolism and that’s just the start”
Only a few spots left on June’s pre-order
You’ve seen this stuff working every single day with me!!
On day 2 I was down on the scales!!”
“XXXX is EXCLUSIVELY formulated and manufactured using only the highest quality ingredients.
It’s super easy to use, tastes great and helps with so many things
IMPROVES STRESS LEVELS
REBUILDS MUSCLE MASS
REBUILDS CONNECTIVE TISSUES
ALLOWS THE BODY TO BURN MORE FATS AND SUGARS WHICH PROMOTES WEIGHTLOSS
TAKING ORDERS NOW "
The complainant considered the influencer was promoting the products without declaring the posts were marketing communications.
The complainant also considered that the influencer has been advertising untrue benefits that arise from one’s use of these products.
The influencer apologised for any wrong doing on her part and said she was only days into the business when the screenshots had been taken and that she was not majorly aware of any compliance or code of conducts at this point. She said that only a couple of weeks later she was introduced to compliancy when a leader in the company brought up its importance and provided her with a list of rules and regulations.
She said that she was just an independent representative for the company and also shared her health journey online. She said she had a public account as she had shared her journey online regarding her health. She said she did not use the #ad or #collaboration that bloggers were asked to use because this was not a collaboration as the products she was using were bought with her own money and the review was not asked for by the company in question. She said that she was not paid by the company to review the product and that she chose to review the products herself and that, therefore, she did not use the hashtags for bloggers.
In reference to the ASAI’s document regarding recognisability in marketing communications where it stated, “Where the reviewer has not been paid or otherwise induced to write a review, then the material is not marketing communication” the influencer said she was not paid to do the review or directed in anyway with the reviews, and that it was her choice to order the products herself with her own money to see if they would help her personally with issues she suffered with. She said she shared most of her life online so she shared the results with her online following.
The influencer she had personally taken the products herself and started her journey as a customer. She said that the results she spoke of were personal testimonials of what the product had done for her and how it made her feel, and that they were not intended to mislead anybody. She said that she had also never made any particular weight-loss claims and only said she was down on the scales personally.
The influencer said that since becoming fully aware of compliance and rules she needed to adhere to, she had completely changed the way she wrote and made sure she was following these rules and regulations. She said it was unfortunate she had left the first posts she had done in a highlight section where somebody on her Instagram page had gone to find and screenshot them, thus leading to this complaint. She said she had removed all non-compliant posts from this point and would make best efforts to ensure that herself and others working as independent representatives were consistently up to date with compliance.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 not upheld.
The Committee noted that the advertising referred to ‘taking pre-orders’, ‘June’s pre-orders’ and ‘Get ordering’ and ‘Taking orders now’. The Committee considered that it was clear from the context that the posts were advertising. They did not consider that a breach of the Code had arisen on the basis suggested by the complaint.
Issue 2 upheld.
The Complaints Committee noted the Code provisions that testimonials do not constitute substantiation and the opinions expressed in them should be supported, where necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy (4.17).
While the Committee noted the personal results achieved by the individual using the product, they did not consider that the claims about the product had been substantiated. The Committee noted the Code requirements in relation to substantiation and in the absence of substantiation for the claims, they considered the advertising to be in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.8. 8.9, 8.10, 8.11, 8.14(f), 8.26 and 8.27 of the Code.
In the absence of substantiation, the claims in the advertising should not be used again.