The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has determined that a series of tweets from Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price that culminated in messages specifically referencing and showing a photo of these personalities with Snickers® bars did not violate the U.K. Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (Code).
The initial tweets did not contain any indication that they were sponsored by Mars Chocolate UK Ltd. The final tweets, with the Snickers® content, included “#spon” to indicate they were sponsored and the “strap line ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry.’” According to Mars, the strap line was intended to tie into the earlier tweets, “because their content would not usually be associated with the celebrity tweeters.”
The company also indicated that it believed only the final tweets were marketing communications and that the earlier tweets did not require identification as marketing communications. In the alternative, the company explained that “the campaign could be regarded as one marketing communication, rather than as five separate tweets, but that the circumstances meant it became a marketing communication only when the final tweets were posted.” ASA concluded that, because the initial tweets, sent in quick succession, were intended as “teasers” and did not include marketing content while the final tweets did so and were identified as such, “it was acceptable that the first four tweets were not individually labelled as being part of the overall marketing communications. We therefore concluded that the ads did not breach the Code.”