The UK advertising watchdog has teamed up with ITV to create a "cheat sheet" that will help this year's Love Island contestants navigate social media ad rules when they leave the villa.
The popularity of the show means that this year's contestants are set to earn as much as £7000 per sponsored Instagram post when the series wraps up. As such, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published an at-a-glance checklist designed to stop them from falling foul of a regulatory investigation.
At the heart of the "advertising survival kit" is the message that Love Islanders should be transparent with followers when the images or videos they post on platforms like Twitter and Instagram have been paid for by brands.
Both the ASA and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) already recommend that all influencers upfront hashtag disclosures such as #ad to signpost this, rather than #spon or #paid.
“Our checklist is a quick and effective way of helping Love Islanders ensure their social media posts stick to the rules and avoid misleading their followers," said ASA chief executive, Guy Parker. "Our message is simple: make sure you’re upfront and clear when you’re being paid to post."
As per the guidelines set by the ASA's regulatory arm, the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), both brands and influencers have a responsibility to ensure consumers are made aware that content is sponsored before they engage with it.
On top of providing the checklist to Islanders, the ASA will work with ITV (as part of the channel’s renewed duty of care commitments to contestants) to signpost more detailed guidance and to make available its advice and training resources.
The ASA will also be contacting the talent agencies that represent contestants to make them fully aware of the advertising rules and their responsibilities in helping their clients stick to them.
The regulator has been heavily cracking down on misleading influencer posts over the past two years. Among those who have faced official investigations and subsequent bans from the ASA are Love Island star Olivia Buckland and Made In Chelsea cast member Louise Thompson who failed to disclose that one of her Instagram posts was in fact an ad for watchmaker Daniel Wellington.
Separately, the ASA also warned "hundreds" of influencers over opaque brand deals and conducted a probe into the current rules around online advertising.
ITV announced earlier this week that it is set to broadcast Love Island twice a year, gearing up for a winter edition of the summer staple on the back of a slew of successful ad and sponsorship deals.