In June 2021, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (LIKE A) started naming and shaming some influencers for “consistently failing to disclose ads on their Instagram accounts, despite repeated warnings, help and advice to follow the ruleson their website (see here).
The name-and-shame list was created following the ASA Influencer Monitoring report, which found inconsistent disclosure of ads by influencers on Instagram via stories, posts and reels, with disclosure rules not being followed. only 35% of the time (see here). The influencers referenced on the web page are subject to enhanced monitoring and remain there for a minimum of three months.
Currently, there are six people on the list (see here) with the most recent added on January 18, 2022. However, the ASA has now gone even further by posting ads on Instagram itself warning consumers about these non-compliant influencers.
The announcements state:
“[Name] was sanctioned by the UK advertising regulator for failing to report adverts on this platform. Be aware that the products and services recommended or featured by this influencer may have been paid for by these brands. Our non-compliant social media influencers page on asa.org.uk is regularly updated to inform consumers of those who break these rules.”
The removal of these ads shows that the ASA is stepping up its penalties against non-compliant influencers. If non-compliance persists, the ASA could consider further sanctions, including working with social media platforms to remove content, or referring influencers to Business Standards for prosecution, including possible fines.
This development shows how seriously the ASA takes social media ad disclosure and urges brands to ensure their influencers are compliant. To ensure all marketing communications are clear, brands and influencers should be sure to include #ad (or similar) in a direct and prominent way or use a platform’s own disclosure tools.
As a reminder, when a brand grants an influencer a “payment“, which can be a monetary payment or a commission, a free product/service or any other incentive, any content produced as a result becomes subject to the law on the protection of consumers applied by the Competition and Markets Authority and the ASA.