According to an article by RTE news, there has been a 30% increase in complaints about advertising but the chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland predict it is down to increased awareness rather than falling standards. The latest ASAI report shows that 25 of 27 ads that were subject to complaints were found to have breached standards. A number of complaints were related to bloggers and social media advertising as well as some high-profile companies.
Flagging sponsored content
In the article, it says that a number of these instances occurred when a blogger may have not made it clear that a video was sponsored content or part of a brand ambassador partnership. The onus is on bloggers to ensure that they follow the advertising code and advertising should be clearly defined and recognisable. For sponsored content or partnerships, bloggers must flag their advertising at the start of their video content – afterwards is not acceptable. Influencers must tell their followers they are running paid posts and it was found (in the report) that some influencers did not follow the protocol. Content considered to be advertising or marketing is when the person receives payment for the content they share on their social media platforms. Of course, lots of influencers or bloggers receive a huge amount of freebies but they don’t have to disclose this as they aren’t being paid for the content. Equally, they don’t have to share details of things they have received from companies unless they choose to do so.
A sign of the times
As mentioned above, it wasn’t just bloggers or influencers that were found to have been in breach of advertising rules as other well-known companies also found themselves being the brunt of people’s complaints according to the ASAI. In a sign of the change in times, the complaints ranged from email marketing, social media and online, radio and print advertising. The pressure for companies or influencers to adhere to the advertising code is huge as more and more people are aware of advertising rules. A lot of people don’t want to feel duped and become frustrated if they feel they are ‘being sold to’ and it demeans their belief in an influencer however; let’s not forget that they are running a business. Influencers and bloggers rely on this stream of income and though they are well-meaning, the reality is that they need to follow advertising rules to avoid complaints.
For more information on advertising standards you can find out more here on the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) website.