Monday 29 August 2016

Irish bloggers must now tell their fans when they have been paid to promote a product

Published 25/01/2016 | 13:49

pictured at the launch of Clayton Hotels’ Vitality Breakfast hosted by top Irish model and food blogger Roz Purcell. The breakfast event was organised by the hotel brand as they launch as the newest name in hospitality in Ireland and the UK. Picture Andres Poveda
pictured at the launch of Clayton Hotels’ Vitality Breakfast hosted by top Irish model and food blogger Roz Purcell. The breakfast event was organised by the hotel brand as they launch as the newest name in hospitality in Ireland and the UK. Picture Andres Poveda
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YouTube star Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, who has become the fastest selling debut novelist since records began, outselling the likes of JK Rowling and Dan Brown.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland is releasing guidelines to align Ireland's blogging standards with the UK and the US.

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The ASAI revealed that they are cracking down on bloggers talking about a product without disclosing any sponsorship that might be involved.

The rules follow those introduced in the UK two years ago, after complaints were made about a number of videos made by popular vloggers that were not disclosed as paid advertisements.

Chief Executive Orla Twomey told the Sunday Business Post that bloggers must adhere to the rules, which apply to "all media".

"The ASAI code requires advertisers not to mislead consumers, not to offend them, make sure advertising is truthful and that consumers know when they’re receiving marketing material".

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Statistics from the Irish Blogger survey 2015.
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"As digital and online develop, new people come into those industries that do not have a background in traditional media and the understanding that codes apply. It’s not that we are reinventing the rules, because the rules apply to all media".

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If a blogger has worked with a brand or advertiser around a piece of content, this needs to be clear 'from the start' of the piece of content. This means bloggers must reveal this at the beginning of a blog post or video and use the #sponsored or #ad hashtags on social media. In the UK, the word 'Ad' must be included in the title of the blog or video.

One notable exception is in the event of a blogger receiving no payment but free product from a brand or advertiser. As no money has changed hands, the blogger is not required to flag any ensuing content as 'marketing communications'.

The ASAI plan to work with a number of groups to ensure that bloggers understand their responsibilities online.

Where the body discovers 'incorrectly labelled marketing communications', the blogger will be required to remove or amend the content. If they refuse, the ASAI will hold a formal investigation which will go in front of the complaints committee.

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Twomey explained that the ASAI expect brands to uphold the code.

"The majority of brands set out to be responsible. They want to be code-compliant and they don’t want to be at the end of an upheld adjudication that they have misled their consumers".

The new edition of the code of standards - the seventh edition - will come into effect in March 2016.

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