As influencers' content and communications are expanding internationally and in quite diverse ways, the Advertising Professional Regulatory Authority (ARPP) recently published new recommendations in relation to influencers' content, statements and publications.

Overview

In its recommendations, the ARPP first provides its own definition of an 'influencer'. It defines 'influencer' as any individual who expresses a point of view or provides advice, in a specific field, according to his or her own style or way of processing, in a way in which his or her audience identifies.

The recommendations then specify that an influencer can act either within a purely editorial frame or in collaboration with a brand for the publication of content (eg, product placement, participation in content production and the publication of content of an advertising nature).

The ARPP then provides two general recommendations in relation to influencers who collaborate with a brand:

  • If an influencer enters into a commercial collaboration with an advertiser for the purpose of publishing content, the existence of such a collaboration should be brought to the public's attention.
  • If the content or statements published by the influencer pursuant to this collaboration are qualified as being of an advertising nature, all other ARPP ethical rules should be applied.

According to the ARPP, content will be considered as being of an advertising nature when the following three criteria are met:

  • The content is produced under the framework of reciprocal undertakings – that is, the influencer's content or statement is published in consideration for a payment or other type of compensation (including the provision of products or services to their benefit).
  • The advertiser or its representatives are granted prominent editorial control (eg, imposing a script or speech) and a prior approval right over the content before publication.
  • The content of the influencer's statement promotes products or services (eg, verbal or visual presentation for promotional purposes).

Finally, the recommendations provide suggestions on how to identify influencer communications that are produced in the frame of a collaboration with a brand. It recommends that any collaboration be explicitly indicated so that it is immediately apparent to the public. Identification can be done by any applicable means – for example, within the statements themselves, in a text accompanying the content or mentioned during the video.

Comment

These first French recommendations in relation to influencer content and communications are an important starting point in the establishment of a legal regime applicable to these new actors and types of publication. They can quite easily be qualified as being of an advertising nature, which may entail the application of different legal provisions.

For further information on this topic please contact Camille Burkhart at Nomos by telephone (+33 01 43 18 55 00) or email (cburkhart@nomosparis.com). The Nomos website can be accessed at www.nomosparis.com.

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