The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has called out several influencers for breaching its code of advertising ethics.
The AANA updated its code of ethics in February this year, with the update including that influencers had to always disclose if a post was part of a sponsorship or partnership with a brand.
The update came in an effort to make sure influencers were being transparent when it came to the products they were marketing. It also identified the correct hashtags influencers need to use on posts to comply with the new guidelines – #advertsing or #ad.
If advertisers don’t abide by AANA’s standards, they can face hefty fines.
Fitness influencer Sophie Guidolin shared a gallery of photos of herself and a young boy on her Instagram in activewear. Guidolin also tagged the brand Reebook in her post.
The caption on the post said: “Back doing run club with Ryder. When we land he is straight into footy season, and let’s just say today hurt. The beauty of travelling with only 1 versatile pair of shoes pays off- my nano x1’s perfect for running, skipping, weights and more! @reebokau.”
Ad Standards then received a complaint that alleged the social media post was misleading and that the post did not make it clear if it was advertising or not.
Reebok disclosed that Guidolin and the brand had a long-term working relationship and that Guidolin had signed an endorsement deal with the activewear brand for all of 2021. However, the brand said this particular post was not part of its business relationship with Guidolin.
In defence of the claim, the brand said: “We have not provided Ms Guidolin with any statements to make in relation to our products and therefore cannot be said to have control over the post.”
However, Ad Standards ruled that the post could still be seen as an extension of her commercial relationship with the advertiser and upheld the complaint.
Guidolin removed the post from her social media.
Guidolin is not the only influencer who has been called out for not complying with the new code of ethics.
Carly McDonagh was called out after she posted a photo of her with a ‘wave wand’ by Bondi Boost. She tagged the brand and offered a discount code, however, she failed to include the hashtags #ad or #advertisor. She later updated the post with #ad, before deleting the post altogether.
She was then spotted selling the wand on Facebook Marketplace.
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