So you’re doing all the things — telling your influencers to use #ad in their captions. You’re good, right? Well, maybe not.
A new ruling by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority shows that marketers may need to go above and beyond to ensure their commercial intent is unmistakably clear.
The UK watchdog recently sanctioned an Instagram post by football player Rio Ferdinand promoting Qatar for failing to make it clear the post was an ad.
The thing is though, the post was labeled with the #ad hashtag.
The content featured a video promoting Visit Qatar, accompanied by the hashtags “#VisitQatar” and “#ad” at the end of the caption.
But the ASA said that the hashtags were not sufficiently visible when viewed on a mobile device, because a user would have had to click on a “more” button to see them, leading to a complaint questioning whether the post was “obviously identifiable” as a marketing communication.
In response, Qatar Tourism acknowledged that the label’s presentation was not prominent enough, and that they had liaised with Ferdinand’s representatives to revise the post and make the label more visible.
Ferdinand’s representatives, on the other hand, said they had followed the guidelines and used the #ad label based on Instagram’s previous advice.
The ASA ruled that because the ad did not make clear its commercial intent upfront, it was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication, therefore breaching its code.
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