ASAI guidance may be summarised as follows:
- Where celebrities, bloggers or influencers are sponsored by brands or paid directly to promote a product, it must be clear these posts are marketing communications.
- Bloggers and online influencers are already required to adhere to the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland, which applies to all commercial marketing communications, regardless of the medium in which they appear – blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and twitter posts all included.
- However, the onus is on the advertiser to ensure that bloggers or influencers follow the ASAI Guidelines and identify all marketing communications, while also ensuring the content is legal, decent, honest and truthful.
Non-adherence to the code may ultimately result in the ASAI upholding a code breach which may be published in the general media. See below for a recent news article concerning a public complaint about content posted by a blogger to Snapchat.
The advertising watchdog has handled its first complaint about a Snapchat influencer. The Journal, June 2017
- Guiding principle is that all marketing communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful, inclusive of online influencer marketing.
- To achieve code compliance, the ASAI is recommending the use of a clearly identifiable hashtag such as #Ad or #SP. See the example below.
- The chosen identifiable hashtag must be clear from the beginning of the content.
- Disclaimers should be visible for consumers to see before they interact with or read the relevant material.
Example of sponsored Instagram post containing the hashtag #Ad
The full Guidance provided by the ASAI on the recognisability of marketing communications may be found here.
About the author: Suzanne Shaw, MBA, is an independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in developing and implementing business development, marketing and communications strategies, working in a wide variety of sectors and businesses, from professional services to SMEs to not-for-profits. Suzanne is first and foremost a practitioner and enjoys the challenge of working with in house sales and marketing teams to design and implement effective, practical marketing strategies to achieve business objectives.