An Instagram post by garypineda_for Mibodi Apparel featured the influencer wearing the brand’s clothing. The post referred to the following:
“…This pic is one of my fav, wearing @mibodi_apparel as usual, ‘PINEDA 10’ for 10% off.”
The complainant considered the post to be misleading in content as the influencer had not declared that it was a marketing communication.
The influencer stated that he was a Mibodi Apparel sponsored athlete and received free apparel. He said that he took part in photoshoots and was paid commission based on how many times a month his code ‘PINEDA 10’ was used. He said he was paid per code usage and not per post.
The influencer said that he had signed a year-long agreement to post four posts per month wearing Mibodi Apparel. He said that he was never advised by the brand what to say in his posts and was free to use any caption or pictures he wished.
The brand confirmed that the influencer was a Mibodi Apparel sponsored athlete and that he had always outlined this fact by mentioning it in his bio. They said he had also outlined that he was a sponsored athlete in a separate post and he had signed a year-long agreement with them to post four times per month wearing their apparel.
The brand said that they did not tell the influencer what to post and he was free to use any text or image that he wished to.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and both the influencer’s and the advertisers’ responses.
The Committee considered that it should be immediately clear to consumers when they were engaging with marketing communications. In this context, where a sponsorship, brand ambassadorship, or similar relationship existed, and where the product was being used, displayed or discussed, the relevant posts should include appropriate disclaimers, to indicate the existence of the commercial relationship.
In the circumstances the Committee considered that the post had breached Sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.
The posts should be amended to include the appropriate hashtags.