The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), an independent self-regulatory body set up by the advertising industry, recently announced that it will extend its current digital remit to include marketing communications on advertisers’ own social media profile pages and other non-paid-for online space under advertisers’ control. The ASAI Code (its rule book) now applies to marketing communications in non-paid-for online space, under the control of the advertiser or their agent, including but not limited to advertisers’ own websites.

The Code still excludes from its remit; editorials material, press releases and marketing communications whose principal purpose is to express the advertiser’s position on a political, religious, industrial relations, social or aesthetic matter or on an issue of public interest or concern.

The ASAI has also released a Guidance Note outlining how this extension will be applied.

In a previous article, ‘Celebrity Endorsements on Twitter: You’re Not You When You’re Tweeting’, we highlighted that Ireland did not have any specific guidelines regarding tweeting or blogging in relation to paid endorsement. However the recent extension of the digital remit will hopefully clarify this issue and will be welcomed considering the increase in the use of social media.

The new remit is scheduled to come into force on 2 January 2013. However there will be a three-month grace period where complaints will be investigated informally by the ASAI as opposed to a formal decision by the independent Complaints Committee.