Interesting article by Matt Donegan at the Social Circle in this week's Campaign. He asks good questions about the current regime for labelling of all forms of influencer marketing as #ad, and points out that the regulators don't take the same attitude towards product placement in more traditional forms of media. He points out that you don't see #advert next to product placement in films or on TV.
The latest guidance from the ASA in the UK and FTC in the US on influencer marketing is clear, which is that #advert or #ad is the preferred label for any content that has been paid for by a brand, and which is under the brand's editorial control. The disclosure label must be seen before the user clicks on the content, for example in the title of the video, or in the tweet/post/update.
I have some sympathy with Matt's point in the article that we are developing more stringent standards for influencer marketing than product placement on TV. There are regulations about product placement in the UK (which include using the product placement logo in the credits, although hardly anyone outside of the media industry knows what the Product placement logo means...) But as influencer marketing matures into an established part of the marketing mix, marketers have a duty to make sure their consumers are aware when they are being marketed to. Not just because the regulatory landscape demands that they are transparent, but because influencers and brands will develop a better, more authentic and open conversation with their customers and fans.
In films and TV, why does #ad not appear as soon as a sponsored product is included on screen? Should #spon pop up when Bond drinks his Heineken? Why doesn’t Kim K have a flashing #ad sign round her neck at all times on her TV show?