- Specific guidance now offered encouraging bloggers and online influencers to declare their marketing communications
- Organisation now engaged in monitoring of social media platforms to evaluate adherence to ASAI Code
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (The ASAI) has introduced new guidance on the ‘Recognisability of Marketing Communications’ aimed at ensuring Irish consumers are not misled by influencer marketing through online advertisements on blogs and social media websites.
Advertisers seeking new opportunities to engage with consumers via social media and online platforms via bloggers and celebrities must fully declare their online marketing communications. Primary responsibility for the recognisability of marketing communications rests with the advertising company, however all parties involved have a duty of responsibility.
Where celebrities or influencers are sponsored by brands or paid directly to promote a product, it must be clear these posts are marketing communications. To achieve this, the ASAI is encouraging the use of a clearly identifiable hashtag such as #Ad or #SP. The chosen identifier must also be immediately included and clear from the beginning of the content. Disclaimers should be visible for consumers to see before they interact with / read the relevant material. A disclaimer, for example below – the-fold on websites, in terms and conditions, or at the end of the marketing communication is not sufficient.
The aim is to ensure that all marketing communications are easily identifiable as being separate to independent editorial content. This can occur in instances where material may not resemble traditional marketing communications but is still paid for and controlled by the company and delivered via the medium of bloggers and members of the online community with a large social following.
The new guidance on the ‘Recognisability of Marketing Communications’ issued by the ASAI outlines the general requirements of advertisers across social media, including:
- Independent Reviews, including Blogger and Vloggers
- Key watch outs
- Free Products
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. However, the onus is on the advertiser to ensure that Bloggers adhere to the ASAI Guidelines and that all marketing communications are identifiable by consumers while also remaining legal, decent, honest and truthful.
The organisation, which is financed by the advertising industry, also offers free confidential and non-binding copy advice on the compliance of proposed advertising.
Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI, says:
“The area of influencer marketing has seen a number of in-depth conversations both online and in the media recently as consumers voice their concerns about bloggers who may or may not be declaring marketing communications. Bloggers have also engaged in online forums where they have discussed best practice in so far as what exactly needs to be disclosed and when. The new ASAI guidelines aim to address these concerns and develop a uniform set of standards applicable to both companies and the bloggers who deliver the marketing communications.
As the independent self-regulatory body committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, the ASAI aims to lead the way in ensuring all marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful, inclusive of online influencer marketing.
As part of the ASAI’s ongoing Monitoring Service, the organisation has also begun monitoring blogs and online channels including social media. Furthermore the ASAI has also actively engaged with a number of bloggers to communicate the fact that the ASAI Code is applicable to all marketing and that all marketing communications must be declared. Feedback to date has been extremely positive as the ASAI aims to work with advertisers in the best interest of consumers, rather than against them.”
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is financed by the advertising industry and committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications that is advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing. The objective is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.
The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of the Code. To view the full ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland (7th edition), go to www.asai.ie.
To find out more or to view the new ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland (7th edition),
go to www.asai.ie or follow the ASAI on Twitter @ THE_ASAI