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Influencers and Instagram competition rules

19 April 2021

Earlier last month it was reported in the press that Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague had failed to follow the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules. This was in relation to running an online prize draw on her Instagram account for a well-known clothing brand.

Until recently, the focus of the ASA has been on those who simply failed to flag paid-for posts as being ads, however the authority is now pursuing a wider range of cases against influencers.

Best practice for Influencers and advertising

The ASA non broadcast code covers all other areas of advertising outside of TV and Radio broadcast. This includes:

  • Adverts in newspapers and magazines
  • Mailings
  • Emails
  • Text transmissions
  • Adverts in non broadcast electronic media
  • Marketing databases containing consumers’ personal information
  • Promotions in non broadcast media
  • Adverts and other marketing communications by or from companies, organisations or sole traders on their own websites

Any resulting posts from an influencer who receives a gift from a brand either in the form of a free gift, payment or any other perk, becomes subject to consumer protection law. Brands with control over the content the Influencer posts also become subject to the UK Advertising Code.

Self promotion

Other rules are still likely to apply to your content if you are advertising your own products/services or engaging in affiliate marketing, It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the ad rules and legal requirements, especially if you are:

  • Running prize draws and “giveaways”
  • Advertising products that feature an age restriction element (such as alcohol or gambling)
  • Making claims about your product (which you will need to back up)
  • Promoting products which carry a lot of their own rules such as food or health supplements

It is the responsibility of both the brand and the influencer to disclose their commercial relationship upfront. The golden rule is to make it clear that ads are ads.

Download the full ASA’s Influencers Guide for a comprehensive breakdown.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of our team via hello@starboxaccountants.com or by calling us on 01273 043678.

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