The ASA ruled against an influencer recently. That isn’t really anything new. Some influencers continue to flout the CAP Code, members of the public continue to complain, and by and large the ASA continues to uphold the complaints. The recent case concerned a teeth whitener and we’ve been there before, too, because reality celeb Marnie Simpson got told off by the ASA when she promoted a teeth whitener, offered her followers a discount code, but didn’t label the post #Ad.
In fact, that’s exactly what an Instagram influencer called @aliyahmariabee did, so someone who believed the post was a paid-for brand endorsement challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication. The ruling, which you can read here, isn’t lengthy, because the case appears to have been quite straightforward and the company who produced the teeth whitener didn’t put up any defence.
In fact, it didn’t respond to the ASA at all, which suggests to me that it doesn’t hold the ASA in high regard. Ms Bee herself – I’m guessing her name is Aliya Maria Bee, but of course I could be wrong – confirmed that the post had been removed from Instagram, but the ruling doesn’t cite any other response from her either.
She may not, of course, have understood that she had to comply with the CAP Code and she may, of course, be very contrite about breaching it. We don’t know, but I have to say this ruling doesn’t convince me that influencers tremble at the sight of the ASA’s logo and are falling over themselves to comply with the CAP Code. Does the ASA need a higher profile? Maybe. Does the ASA need ‘teeth’? Quite possibly.
One point of interest from the ruling, though, is that the ASA noted Ms Bee featured as an affiliate on the website of the company selling the teeth whitening product. The site stated that affiliates receive a commission for every website sale in which their discount code is used, so the ASA considered that because the post was created by Ms Bee and the company, they were jointly responsible for ensuring that promotional activity conducted on the company’s behalf was compliant with the CAP Code. That joint responsibility is significant and it’s something companies do need to pay attention to.
Prizeology can help you ensure that all your promotion comply with the CAP Code. Give us a call on 020 7856 0402 or email us on email@example.com
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador.