The New #AD Rules for Social Media: CMA Tell Influencers They Need to be Transparent (Not an AD)

The days of bloggers and influencers blowing through social media doing doughnuts in a Buick like a 70's Burt Reynolds, are coming to a close. This month the CMA announced new rules for influencers if they have been paid, incentivised or in any way rewarded to endorse or review something in their posts.

It’s important that they make this clear to their followers. This includes when a product or service has been given to them for free.

This needs to be clearly stated when a product, brand or service is tagged, linked or endorsed in any way.

Even if you receive something in the post for free it's classed a form of reward and if you don't clearly state your relationship with the brand, you will be breaking advertising law. 

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Carl I got given a watch for free last year, do I still need to let people know? 

The article says that anything within the last year is deemed noteworthy to your audience. I won't be going back retrospectively through my old posts, but from now on I'll need to be making people aware of my relationships with brands. Hopefully people already are. 

How do I disclose my working relationship? 

Simple. No matter what social platform you are publishing on, just put #Ad or (Ad) at the start of the caption to let people know the content is sponsored. If you have been gifted something you need to declare this also as an #AD. Which is a bit backward for my liking. 

Here is a very easy how-to guide on the Vix Meldrew site. It gives you an interesting way to incorporate your adverts and opinions. 

The main trouble with influencer advertising

I've got a whole bunch but here goes. 

  1. Everyone is too damn nice. If someone doesn't declare their working relationship in a social post is anyone going to leave a comment asking if they're getting their palms lined with silver? I think not. Have never seen it. 

  2. The ASA document is 20 pages long. Even though it's clear and concise, there is still a lot of heft to a document to regulate whether someone has sent you a free bar of soap or not. 

  3. My missus gifted me a watch for my birthday and she owns the watch company. What's up? I want to tell the world the missus bought me an awesome watch for my birthday, is that an (Ad-Gifted-Ad-Promotion)? 

  4. Surely if people are putting (Ad) in front of everything it will start to lose its currency. It will be so saturated that people won't even bother looking into the validity of the working relationship between brand and influencer. 

  5. What are the punishments? Can someone tell me? Will they freeze my instagram account? Will they take away my blue tick? Are we talking jail time? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.