The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), who recently introduced new guidance on the ‘Recognisability of Marketing Communications’, is reminding advertisers that primary responsibility for the recognisability of marketing communications rests with the advertiser or brand. The organisation is, however, reminding all parties involved that they have a duty of responsibility.
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. 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.
In the context of recognisability, the importance of transparency for the consumer is particularly reflected in the Code, as follows:
Marketing communications should not misrepresent their true purpose. Marketing communications should not be presented as, for example, market research, consumer surveys, user-generated content, private blogs, or independent reviews if their purpose is marketing, i.e. the promotion of a product.
Non-adherence to the Code may ultimately result in the ASAI upholding a breach under the Code and which may be published in the general media.
To achieve Code compliance, the ASAI is recommending the use of a clearly identifiable hashtag such as #Ad or #SP. 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. A disclaimer that appears below- the-fold on websites, in terms and conditions, or at the end of the marketing communication is not sufficient.
Orla Twomey, CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, 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. To avoid any confusion within the advertising industry, the ASAI is making it clear that the primary responsibility for disclosure of marketing communications rests with the advertiser.
While all parties have a duty of care, it’s important that brands encourage responsible advertising practices and that consumers are not mislead through the medium of influencer marketing. The recently introduced ASAI guidelines aim to address concerns, highlight best practice 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.”
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 also offers free confidential and non-binding copy advice on the compliance of proposed advertising.
The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of the Code.
The full Guidance provided by the ASAI on the Recognisability of Marketing Communications can be found by clicking here. (PDF).
If you are unsure how your activities fit within the rules, please take advantage of our Bespoke Advert Review service. Our fast and confidential service is essential for advertisers, agencies, media owners/providers, who want to check how their prospective advertisements measure up against the Advertising Codes.
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