ASA targets social media influencers over ads

Keiligh Baker's picture

The Advertising Standards Authority has cautioned "between 200 and 300" social media influencers for breaking strict rules around paid for posts over the past few years.

Social media influencers are increasingly being paid to promote and market a brand's products on apps like Instagram and that is set to continue in 2019.

The Advertising Standards Authority said this was relatively new ground for them, but that they had warned between 200 and 300 social media influencers against breaching the rules.

Recent interventions by the ASA include reality TV star Stephanie Davis, who shared a photo of some vitamins she was promoting.

The photo has since been edited to include the caption #ad.

Made in Chelsea's Millie Mackintosh was also warned after uploading a video advertising a health drink using #sp to refer to a "sponsored post", which the ASA ruled was not clear enough.

Others who have faced official investigations and subsequent bans from the ASA are Love Island star Olivia Buckland and Made In Chelsea cast member Louise Thompson who failed to disclose that one of her Instagram posts was in fact an ad for watchmaker Daniel Wellington.

Andy Nairn, partner at advertising firm Lucky Generals, told Sky News that advertising regulation often works through 'carrot and stick' and so far the ASA has taken perhaps more of a 'carrot' approach.

"They have understood that there has been some degree of complexity, a novelty in the world of influencer marketing, it's a relatively new discipline.

"It's not entirely new now, so perhaps it's a little bit late in the day, but they have chosen to clarify the rules first and foremost so that people don't have the excuse of not knowing what the proper form of behaviour is."

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