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Ad Tweets

04 April 2012
In March 2012 the ASA published its first adjudication about celebrity endorsements on Twitter. The complainants believed a series of tweets by Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand should have made clear they were marketing material as required by CAP Code rules 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4.

Four ‘teaser’ tweets that were clearly out of character for the celebrities were followed by a fifth ‘reveal’ tweet. The reveal showed the celebrities holding a Snickers bar. The tag line was, “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUK#hungry#spon”.

The ASA decided that each tweet in the series formed part of an orchestrated advertising campaign, generating interest in the celebrities’ postings. Some of the tweets were also highlighted on the Snickers Twitter page.

Does that mean they should have had some sort of label to make clear they were ads? Not this time. Because they were posted in relatively quick succession (about an hour between the first tweet and the reveal) and would be understood in the context of the reveal tweet, they didn’t need to be individually labelled.

So, what are the lessons from this first key Twitter adjudication? The ASA will assess each tweet on its own merits, but is likely to take into account factors such as the time-lapse between the teaser tweets and the advertising reveal, the understanding of the audience and the context in which the tweets appear before they decide whether or not the tweets are sufficiently recognisable as an ad or whether the tweets need to do more to convey their advertising intent.

We’ll continue to cover key adjudications in Insight and you can get general advice on the need to ensure your ads are recognisable as such here. And of course, there’s always the ASA Twitter feed to keep you up to date on the latest news from the UK’s advertising regulator: @ASA_UK.

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