The ASA has ruled that an informal tweet by TV personality Gemma Collins was advertising and should have carried an identifier such as #ad to obviously identify it as a marketing communication. (free access)
The ASA has held that informal tweets by a reality TV personality promoting a discount should have been identified as a marketing communication. The reality TV personality, Gemma Collins, visited a hair salon who waived the cost of their services. The salon suggested that as she had been pleased with the service provided, she should tweet about it. Collins then asked if she should mention a discount and the salon agreed. Collins subsequently tweeted how pleased she was with the service at the salon and stated the discount for others to use when booking. There was no express identifier that the tweets were marketing communications. A complaint was brought to the ASA claiming that the tweets were marketing communications and should have been identified as such. The salon responded that the tweets had been spontaneously compiled by Collins and were not part of any formal advertising campaign. They also believed that the mention of a discount was sufficient to identify the tweets as marketing communications. The ASA disagreed. The ASA considered the average Twitter user would follow a number of people on the site and are likely to scroll through tweets quickly. In the absence of an obvious identifier, such as use of #ad, consumers may not realise that these tweets were advertisements. The ASA found the tweets to have breached the rules in the CAP Code on recognition of marketing communications (rules 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4). Advertisers should be aware that advertising rules cannot be bypassed just because an arrangement between the advertiser and a spokesperson is informal or ad hoc.