Influencer disclosure UK 2023 - ASA / CMA guidelines
Influencer marketing has grown notably in recent years. With it has come demands, loud and quiet, for enhanced regulation. Recently the ASA & CMA have issued combined guidance for the first time.
Why does this matter? The new guidance has legal force, as well as the risk of reputation shaming (the ASA’s tool, previously).
What are the key points?
Everyone in the process (brand, agency, influencer) has responsibility for compliance
Every piece of communication needs to say ‘advert’ or ‘ad’ - there’s no scope for paid partnership tags, “ambassador”, “gifted” etc
It is all encompassing… anything you are gifted, or experience - let alone paid to participate in - has to be disclosed
If you’ve previously had a relationship, you should disclose it
What are the implications?
People have long utilised the ‘grey areas’ of previous legislation / guidance… this makes it more explicit, especially around the use of ‘advert’
However, we are already seeing influencers find new ‘grey areas’, using text on stories which obscures the “ad” tag, etc…
Reputable brands will follow to the letter. Bad actors will not - exactly the people who circumvented reasonable behaviour previously
The same applies to influencers - the disreputable will continue to be so
The clarity provided is welcome. Does it drive meaningful change for the public? Probably not. They’re already highly media-literate when it comes to influencer endorsement, it cannot address those sitting outside UK jurisdiction, and those intent on deceit will continue. We can expect to see a flurry of citations from the ASA to influencers and marketing campaigns as they demonstrate the guidance.