Footballer Wayne Rooney has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority after tweeting his endorsement of Nike – despite never declaring his sponsorship by the sports brand.
Rooney, alongside fellow England footballer and Nike aficionado Jack Wilshere, are the first to be on the receiving end of a deletion order since the ASA was granted additional social media powers last year.
Both footballers commited their faux pas back in January with Rooney informing his followers: “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion ...#makeitcount.gonike.me/makeitcount”
For his part Wilshere posted his own variant on the make it count message: “In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country #makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount”.
Nike had claimed that both players were “well known for being sponsored by Nike”, pointing out that the web address explicitly quoted a Nike domain.
However the ASA were having none of it, saying: “We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications.”
The ASA recommend that future sponsored tweets carry an explicit identifier such as #ad.
Nina Best, a specialist in brands and advertising law at Browne Jacobson commented: “This ruling does not mean the end to celebrity endorsement on social media. However, brands will need to become more aware and more creative when it comes to its social media marketing. This ruling, along with the recent Twitter Snickers campaign, shows that the advertising watchdog will not let social media slip through its gloves, so brands need to pay close attention to their social media campaign messages."