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Jodie Marsh among first influencers on ASA 'name and shame' list for flouting ad rules

The ASA’s new non-disclosure webpage highlights influencers that fail to disclose sponsored content

The Advertising Standards Authority is naming and shaming prominent influencers whose content has fallen foul of rules regarding promotional posts.

The new non-disclosure website, launching today, names a number of influencers with followings across social platforms such as Instagram that have not previously disclosed that some posts were paid for by brands. It’s the latest step in a process that is designed to ensure that rules regarding promotional content are consistent across all media.

In March the ASA conducted its Influencer Monitoring Report, which reviewed 122 UK influencer Instagram accounts to check compliance rates – ensuring that the paid-for content is properly flagged and labeled.

Malign influence

  • The site names influencers Chloe Ferry, Chloe Khan, Jodie Marsh and Lucy Mecklenburgh as repeat offenders who have failed to disclose ads across their social media.

  • According to the ASA they were “all contacted by our compliance team and asked to provide an assurance that they would include clear and upfront ad labels in their advertising posts. They either failed to provide that assurance in the first instance or subsequently reneged on it”.

  • Consequently the four will be named on the site for three months and subject to more rigorous scrutiny for any infractions of the ASA’s rules.

  • The ASA also states that any other influencers found to be in breach of its guidelines will also be appended to the site, which it is terming a ‘wall of shame’.

  • The organization does note, however, that its early efforts to cut down on infringements have worked with the vast majority of influencers: “Having spoken with the influencers monitored, three months later we’re seeing much better rates of compliance.”

Keeping an eye on influencers

  • The ASA’s Influencer Marketing Report found that there was a “disappointing overall rate of compliance” with rules regarding paid-for ads. This was particularly worrisome given that the incidence of complaints the organization receives around social media content is growing.

  • This was exacerbated by the changing nature of social content, with the ASA noting that while one part of a Story might have been tagged, the others were erroneously left unlabeled.

  • The report found that these ads largely fell into three sectors: Beauty, Clothing and Leisure: “However, in terms of following the rules, no sector stood out as having an acceptable rate of compliance when it came to labeling ads.”

  • Regarding the new site, ASA chief executive Guy Parker says: “We prefer to work with influencers and brands to help them stick to the rules, but the first influencers to be named on this list have been given every opportunity to treat people fairly about their ads. It’s not difficult: be upfront and clear when posts and Stories are ads. If this doesn’t bring about the changes we expect, we won’t hesitate to consider further sanctions.”

  • The influencer sector is set to grow over the next few years, despite stunted growth in 2020 due the pandemic’s impact on ad spend.

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