CAP and the CMA have teamed up to create a new guide, “An Influencer’s Guide to making clear that ads are ads“, which sets out how to ensure influencer marketing conforms with consumer law.
The guide does not contain any new rules; instead it consolidates existing guidelines for influencers set by the CAP Code and consumer protection legislation in one place, and sets out the best ways to ensure compliance.
Although the guide is aimed at influencers, it makes it clear that the responsibility to ensure consumers know the content is sponsored before they engage with it lies with both the influencer and the brand.
The guide highlights the distinction between when the ASA or CMA will take action against any content falling short of what is required. It states that the ASA will take action when there is payment for content (including payment in kind) plus editorial control by a brand. Taking action falls into the hands of the CMA when there is payment for content (including payment in kind) but there is no editorial control. The guide gives further details on what counts as ‘payment’ and what is considered to be ‘editorial control’.
The guide also goes on to set out how the ASA works in the event that a complaint is received. It stresses that the ASA is keen to work with influencers (and the brand) if there is a problem, but that the ASA is able to ban advertising material flouting the rules and if the content isn’t amended or removed CAP’s Compliance team is able to apply sanctions.
The publication of the guide is timely, with influencer marketing becoming ever more popular. The new release provides a comprehensive guide for influencers placing advertising content on their platforms and a reminder of the importance for brands to have strict sign-off procedures in place.