So what? Well the Advertising Standards Authority is “the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media” but until now this did not include websites (and for websites also read social networks, blogs etc). This new regulation means that marketing communications on companies’ own websites and in other third party space under their control, such as Facebook and Twitter, will have to adhere to the “non-broadcast advertising rules” as set out in the CAP Code.
The aim is to drive companies to ensure marketing messages on their websites are legal, decent, honest and truthful. This should go without saying but think of how celebs are used in social media marketing – when they are speaking about a product are they doing so because they are paid? What about the blog you read extolling a product – was that review paid for? Currently this is unclear but the ASA aims to remove that uncertainty.
How? Well, the ASA does not set rules, just guidance so it is currently unclear exactly what will fall foul of the regulations.
On the Council we are looking to lead the way with self regulation and I am interested in your views of how this should be done?
- Should sponsored tweets feature a hashtag such as #ad or #spon
- What if a paid brand advocate happens to tweet about the brand, is this ‘paid’
- What constitutes being paid? Is a blogger who is given product to review ‘paid’?
I will be updating you as new information comes out and would love your thoughts on this as they will help drive the self regulation response.