Tuesday 16 July 2019

Dozens of complaints made against influencers for flouting advert rules

Complaint: Rosie Connolly. Photo: David Conachy
Complaint: Rosie Connolly. Photo: David Conachy

Lynne Kelleher

More than 100 complaints were made last year against bloggers and influencers for flouting advertising rules.

The State watchdog has pursued a new zero-tolerance policy in recent months of naming social media stars who don't make it clear when they are paid to advertise a product.

New figures show there were 107 complaints made about bloggers to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) in 2018.

The watchdog has warned bloggers and vloggers to declare their marketing posts so that Irish consumers will not be misled. The ASAI guidance note for bloggers specifically asks them to flag marketing content with identifiers of #Ad or #Sp.

In one case, influencerGrace Mongey, known as 'Faces By Grace', posted a 'trendy best buys' segment with a series of models wearing different styles. The complainant said the posts in question had not been identified as advertising material. The influencer apologised and amended her post. The ASAI upheld the complaint.

Ireland's advertising watchdog also found a blogger in breach of its code in June for promoting a foundation and concealer through the use of filtered and photoshopped images.

The ad, which featured on both Facebook and Instagram, showed Rosie Connolly using a Rimmel product.

The complainant said the image had been "filtered and photoshopped", leading people to buy the foundation in the belief they could achieve the same results as the altered image.

Ms Connolly said that because Rimmel had approved the images, the complaint should be addressed to the company.

Rimmel acknowledged the image had been filtered using an in-built camera feature. It said the post was not intended to mislead and it was removed.

The ASAI did clarify that not all complaints about bloggers in 2018 were related to recognisability and not all were related to marketing communications.

In 2017, there were 105 complaints while there were just 11 complaints in 2016.

Irish Independent

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