Following the latest ruling by the ASA in regards to Molly-Mae Hague breaching the guidelines for prize promotional content, and the recent rule put in place banning influencers from using filters when advertising beauty products, the authority continues to hope that when cases like this are brought to attention, creators will reassess their own approach to promotional, advertorial content.
Assessing the monitoring sweep carried out by the ad watchdog in September over the duration of three weeks, the ASA found that while nearly one in four stories assessed was advertising, only 35% of ads were clearly labeled and obviously identifiable as paid promotional content. As well as these results, the ASA also reported that in 2020, they received 3,144 complaints about influencers – a 55% increase from 2019. The majority of these complaints were made about content on Instagram.
Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, said: “There’s simply no excuse not to make clear to the public when positive messages in posts have been paid for by a brand. While some influencers have got their houses in order, our monitoring shows how much more there is to do.”
Putting warnings in place
In response to the three-week monitoring sweep and rise in complaints, the ASA has had no choice but to contact the offending influencers and enforce regular spot checks. The ASA contacted all of the offending influencers, as well as a number of brands, and put them on notice If future spot checks reveal issues, the authority will take necessary action.
At present, the ASA has not publicly announced the list of influencers that they had to reach out to in regards to non-compliance but has warned that it would consider naming them on a dedicated page on its website, working directly with specific platforms brands on further enforcement action.
With greater threats of action in place than there have been previously, we can hope to see greater compliance and honesty looking into the future of advertorial content creation.