Influencer marketing is a strategy that has completely transformed the way brands advertise their products on social media, but transparency is becoming a huge issue with this method. Many personalities have been called out multiple times for not disclosing paid promotions.
UK’s illegal advertising strategy
In the UK it is illegal to carry out ‘hidden advertisements’ and watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) believes that the current measures being taken to flag influencers using such strategies are not good enough.
According to The Guardian, George Lusty—senior CMA director for consumer protection—told the House of Commons that court action against the personalities was taking too long. Instead, he believes that the organisation should be given the power to fine social media influencers participating in the illegal activity. He said:
We think therefore there is a need for more powerful deterrents, and we really welcome what the ASA [Advertising Standards Authority] is doing, but ultimately we think that civil fines would be an important addition to the arsenal of regulators here.
Influencers on the radar
Earlier this month (January), the Advertising Standard Authority listed out a whopping 122 UK-based influencers who apparently failed to be transparent about whether or not they were being paid to promote certain products. The agency also created specific ads alerting social media consumers about their behaviour for the following personalities: Francesca Allen, Jess Gale, Eve Gale, Belle Hassan, Jodie Marsh and Anna Vakili
On their website, the ASA has also called out five influencers for ‘routinely failing to clearly disclose when they are advertising to consumers on their social media channels.’ They added:
Those on this list either failed to provide that assurance in the first instance or subsequently reneged on it and will be subject to a period of enhanced monitoring spot checks.
Failure to comply might result in further targeted sanctions such as ASA paid ad campaigns highlighting the influencer’s continued non-compliance and onwards referral to enforcement partners.
Celebrities on their hit list includeLove Island’s Amber Gill and Tyne-Lexy Clarson, Geordie Shore’s Scott Timlin and Vicky Pattison, and lifestyle influencer Nikki Ryan.
If CMA manages to get their request approved, these influencers may start getting hefty fines if they continue to hide paid promotions.