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ASA names and shames influencers who keep breaking rules

The Advertising Standards Authority is to launch a new web page that names and shames influencers who repeatedly fail to flag up when their content is an ad.

Reality TV star Jodie Marsh (pictured), Chloe Khan, Chloe Ferry and Lucy Mecklenburgh are the first influencers to be named on the page. They will be on there for three months, during which time they will be subject to consistent monitoring and spot checks. Any brands that fail to comply will suffer similar treatment.

The ASA’s report in March found that only 35% of Instagram posts followed its rules. All the women named on the new page were contacted by the ASA compliance team and reminded of the rules – some didn’t even pretend they would comply, while others said they would and then reneged on the agreement.

ASA CEO Guy Parker said: “We prefer to work with influencers and brands to help them stick to the rules, but the first influencers to be named on this list have been given every opportunity to treat people fairly about their ads. It’s not difficult: be upfront and clear when posts and Stories are ads. If this doesn’t bring about the changes we expect, we won’t hesitate to consider further sanctions.”

The rules – that if you host commercial content, consumers must see up front and clearly that it’s an ad – are pretty clear and, if the ASA has been in touch, surely there’s no excuse for repeat offending.

Influencer content is popular with brands precisely because it looks less like an ad, and a
lot of people who become influencers are not going to be familiar with the ASA, so there might be more of an outreach job to be done in educating influencers and consumers. And shouldn’t brands also take some responsibility here?

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