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Influencer: Phil Cawley
Medium: Online – Influencer’s Social Media Account
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.1, 3.31, 3.32, 4.4
Various Instagram posts, stories and reels featuring Volkswagen Wexford products and deals on the influencer’s social media page.
A timeline video of the influencer demonstrating the features of a Volkswagen GTI. The video depicted the interior and exterior of the car while describing its benefits. The video ended with the Influencer stating the promotional price the vehicle was available for at the Volkswagen Wexford dealership. The video caption read “The brains of the machine #gti @volkswagenwexford”.
A timeline video of the Influencer at the Wexford Volkswagen dealership describing a “Super summer sale” on second hand cars. The video depicted a range of vehicles included in the offer and listed the offers included in the sale. The video caption read “@volkswagenwexford summer sale!”
The complainant considered the content shared by the influencer to be misleading as it had not included any disclosure of the brand ambassador relationship held between the influencer and advertisers.
The Advertiser’s response:
The Advertisers stated, whilst not having addressed the complaint itself, that it was their understanding from correspondence with the influencer that the matter had been resolved directly with them. They advised that all social media content was now using the appropriate hashtags and wording to denote the influencers relationship with the dealership.
The Influencer’s response:
The Influencer stated that they were a brand ambassador and were not paid for their posts. They advised that should this change, they would include #paidpromotion on their posts.
They stated that it was their understanding that by using the hashtag #ambassador on their posts it would bring them in line with current rules. They also asked the Executive if they needed to make any further adjustments.
At the time of the complaint the influencer was informed by the ASAI Executive of their responsibly to use adequate disclosure and advised to make use of clear hashtags such as #brandambassador to ensure no ambiguity regarding their relationship with advertisers.
The influencer has since amended some of their brand ambassador posts to include the hashtag #ambassador.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that some posts had been amended to include #ambassador.
The Committee considered that where an influencer was sponsored by a brand, any content that contained or referenced the brand, should be tagged appropriately, for example, by #brandambassador or similar, when discussing or featuring their products. The Committee noted that while the influencer included the dealership’s hashtag in posts, they did not consider that this was sufficient disclosure to denote a working relationship with the brand. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the posts were in breach of Sections
3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.
All relevant posts should be amended to include #brandambassador.