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ASA Marketing

ASA bans Love Islanders' post as it cracks down on influencer posts that omit #ad


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

August 6, 2019 | 4 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad posted by ex-Love Islander Olivia Buckland after it received a complaint that challenged the Cocoa Brown ad for not being obviously identifiable.

ASA pulls up Love Island influencer for failing to make ad easily identifiable

ASA pulls up Love Island influencer for failing to make ad easily identifiable

The post in question appeared on Instagram and featured Buckland holding a pink bottle with the logo 'CB' visible on it.

Next to the image, the caption read: "The V-Day prep is well underway and I’m topping up my tan with my fave @cocoabrowntan by @marissacarter 1-hour tan mousse… more."

The additional text read: “Original – it gives me such a natural glow with no streaks and is the perfect accessory for date night with bae [heart eye emoji] Get yours now @superdrug #TeamCB #CocoaBrownTan #ValentinesDay #BrandAmbassador."

Responding to the allegation that the post wasn't easily identifiable as an ad, Coca Brown said that it had advised Buckland that #ad should be used on all future posts on Instagram.

Buckland argued that the use of #BrandAmbassador in the post made it clear that it was an ad. She felt because the definition of a brand ambassador is "a person who is paid or given free products by a company in exchange for wearing or using its product", this made it clear her posts were marketing communications.

Despite these reasons, the ad watchdog said the post was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication. Although she included the term 'brand ambassador' in the post and on her bio, the ASA said it was insufficiently prominent. It also said that while the term was likely to suggest to readers a general relationship with the brand, it considered that it was unlikely to convey that Cocoa Brown had paid for it.

For these reasons, it told them that the ad must not appear in the form complained of as it felt it wasn't easily identifiable as an ad. It also stressed to both Cocao Bown and Buckland that they must ensure that their ads are obviously identifiable in the future.

[More: Influencer marketing in 2019: what you need to know]

The ASA has been keen to crack down on misleading influencer posts. Last week, it banned an ad posted by the reality TV star Jemma Lucy that received 25 complaints.

Ahead of the final of Love Island 2019, the ad watchdog 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. 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.

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