Print This Post
Product: Health & Beauty - Dental
Advertiser: Dental Options
Medium: Online - Social Media, Online – Influencer’s Social Media Account
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 3.31, 3.32, 4.1, 4.4, 4.5
Social media content by the influencer featured them outlining their experience of wearing the advertisers’ orthodontics product and providing advice to prospective users. The content included the hashtag “#collab” at the end of the content.
The complainant objected to the content on the grounds that it was not clear that the content was a marketing communication.
The advertisers said that the influencer had received the treatment for free and had then posted about the treatment. They noted that the influencer had used the hashtag “#collab” and they queried if the influencer should have used an alternative disclosure and that they would ensure that future content was in line with the regulations.
The influencer’s agency replied on their behalf, stating that the influencer had been gifted the treatment and that no payment and no money had been exchanged. As no payment had been made, they had thought it was sufficient to mark the content as “#collab” in line with others in the industry. They apologised on the influencer’s behalf and said that they would amend advertising in the future to use “#ad” and “#sponsor”.
In response to a request for further information, the agency advised that an approach had been made to the advertisers to see if they were interested in partnering with the influencer by providing them with treatment. The advertisers agreed and the treatment was gifted to the influencer. The agency advised that the conditions of the partnership were that the influencer was to promote the product and the clinic on their social media on each appointment, with a specified number of reels and story posts and a period of exclusivity. They said that the advertisers had not provided any wording beyond the identifying hashtags to be used for the product and the clinic, however, they had asked to be allowed to check the material before it was posted to ensure that any clinical information included was correct.
They said that the influencer now fully understood the need to make clearer that posted material such as this was marked as a marketing communication and that “#collab” was not a sufficient disclosure.
The Executive noted that the social media content had been amended with the “#collab” disclosure being replaced by “#gifted”.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ and influencer’s agency responses. The Committee also noted that the content had been amended to include the disclosure “#gifted”.
The Committee noted the fact that both the advertisers and the influencer’s agency had referred to the treatment as being gifted. The Committee noted that payment included monetary payments and other benefits such as the provision of free products or services. In this case, a free service had been provided and this, together with the requirement to post content and the direction as to that content, meant that the content was a marketing communication. The Committee referred to the requirements of the Code that a marketing communication should be designed and presented in such a way that it is clear that it is a marketing communication and they noted that the Code requirement did not just apply to the inclusion of a notification, but also to how clear that notification was.
The Committee noted that the original version of the content had used the disclosure “#collab” and that it had been placed at the very end of the content. The Committee advised that they had previously adjudicated on the use of ‘#Collab’ (Case 36530) stating that it’s use should be discontinued. In view of the fact that a discontinued disclosure (“#collab”) was used and an appropriate hashtag disclosure had not been used at the start of the post, the Committee did not consider that the advertising was in compliance with Code Sections 3.31 and 4.1 of the Code.
The advertising should not reappear in its current form.
The Committee reminded the parties that the provision of products and services together with a direction to create content, meant that the content was a marketing communication. The Committee advised that such content should make it immediately clear to consumers that the content is commercial with the use of a sufficient disclosure such as ‘#Ad’.