Giving full disclosure is tricky if you have a character limit, such as on Twitter, or if the content only lasts a few seconds, like on Snapchat. The audience could miss out on seeing the hashtag on a snap or it could become lost among other hashtags on Instagram. Influencers might be reluctant to make this obvious in case they are labelled as a ‘sell out’ or if it compromises their content.
Sponsored Content v Adverts
The ASA believes the difference between content being sponsored and being an advert lies in an exchange of money.
“If a brand sends and influencer items for free without any control of the content, the post does not need to be labelled an advert/advertorial”.
Sponsored content where the products discussed are a free gift and influencers have a lot of control over the review or promotion does not have to be labelled as an advert. That being said, influencers should probably still explain the relationship with the brand. If the influencer was paid to promote a product, and the brand had a lot of creative control, then this must be labelled accordingly.
Examples of Influencer Advertising Gone Wrong
UK YouTubers ‘Amazing Phil’ and ‘Dan is not on Fire’ teamed up with Mondelez to promote Oreo cookies through one of their videos. Unfortunately the video ended up being banned, despite the video clearly stating that they were contacted by Mondelez and that the video was made in association with them. However, what they didn’t mention was that they were paid to do this, or that the purpose was therefore to advertise Oreo products. From a social point of view, it was a great piece of content as the influencers fit in with the brand well and it didn’t seem unordinary among their other videos. Sadly, they failed to be truly transparent.