16 Influencers to 'Change Their Approach to Advertising' Following CMA Investigation
Scroll through your favourite celeb’s social media feed and, among the luxury travel and lifestyle pictures, you may find snaps of them endorsing products or companies. Whether it be through paid advertisements, gifting or product trials, a top name in social media can open brands up to thousands and, in some case millions, of followers.
There is no doubt that brand and influencer collaborations can be profitable for both parties but does the audience always know that the post they are viewing has been paid for?
If the answer is no, then these influencers could be breaching consumer law.
Today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed that 16 huge social media personalities have ‘volunteered’ to change their paid advertisement practices going forward.
While it has not been confirmed whether the celebs, including reality TV stars, models, pop stars and YouTubers, have breached regulations, their promise to act follows an investigation.
Who has been named by the CMA?
Sixteen social media stars were named by the CMA including:
- Rita Ora – singer with 14.4m followers on Instagram
- Michelle Keegan – British actress with 3.8m followers
- Ellie Goulding – pop star with 14m followers
- Alexa Chung – model and author with 3.2m followers
- Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – model and lingerie designer with 9m followers
- Zoe Sugg – blogger and Youtuber with 10.2m followers
- Mario Falcone – former TOWIE star with 1.1m followers
- Megan McKenna – TOWIE and country singer 2.1m followers
- Alexandra Felstead – Made in Chelsea original with 1.4m followers
- Holly Hagan – Geordie Shore star with 3.7m followers
- Iskra Lawrence – British model with 4.4m followers
- Camilla Mackintosh – reality TV star with 1.3m followers
- Chloe Sims – TOWIE and salon owner with 1.1m followers
- Louise Thompson – Made in Chelsea star and author with 1.2m followers
- James Chapman – YouTuber, author and model with 2.1m followers
- Dina Torkia – fashion blogger with 1.3m followers
Why is it so important for influencers to #AD?
Quite simply, before followers make a purchasing decision, they should know whether an influencer they follow genuinely recommends a product or if they have been paid to say they do.
Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of CMA, said: “Influencers can have a huge impact on what their fans decide to buy. People could, quite rightly, feel misled if what they thought was a recommendation from someone they admired turns out to be a marketing ploy.”
While money may be no object for some of the social media stars in the named sixteen, their followers will be parting with hard-earned cash, something Andrea also highlighted.
"You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on."
What happens if social media stars break the law?
According to the BBC, it is typically the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which clamps down on breaches of the law. However, as in today’s example, the CMA can also act.
Any influencer who fails to comply with consumer law and doesn’t clearly mark when a post is paid for with the #AD, could face fines and even a prison sentence of up to two years.
What happens now?
Well, the CMA have stated that they will be initiating additional investigations into the “role and responsibilities of social media platforms.”
The authority has also sent out letters warning other so far unnamed influencers urging them to review their past, present and future social media posts.
If you require comment on today’s news from any of our influencers, please contact the Influencer Champions team on: 0203 9580 427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an influencer and are unclear on the legalities surrounding paid advertisements, Influencer Champions will be posting a comprehensive guide in the coming days – so keep a look out for that!