As we already know, any advertising & marketing communications in Ireland must be clearly identifiable to a consumer; aka people must know they are being advertised to! With traditional advertising, this is very easy to do. However, with the growth of digital channels and more specifically, the use of social influencer marketing in Ireland, a new set of guidelines have been introduced.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) have introduced these guidelines for brands and social influencers, to avoid the chance of misleading consumers targeted through sponsored posts, paid reviews or otherwise.

So what does this mean for your brand? Is it the end of social influencer marketing in Ireland? In fact, it’s quite the opposite. With more guidelines and information on how to engage with social influencers and to utilise alternative digital mediums, we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.

Overall there’s nothing really new. In short, the ASAI is simply asking brands and social influencers in Ireland to clearly communicate that a post is a marketing communication. When co-creating content it is expected that a hashtag is clearly visible on the post, stating whether it is, in fact, an ad (#AD) or a piece of sponsored content (#SP).

But wait! Not all branded content created by social influencers is in fact marketing communications. It’s important for both brands and social influencers in Ireland to understand when they must make consumers aware of marcom.

Must be identified when;

  • a brand has paid an influencer, blogger or vlogger (directly or in kind) and where the brand has control over the content of the review, this material is considered to be marketing communication.

It’s cool, no #AD or #SP needed when;

  • you have not been paid or otherwise induced to write a review, then this content is not considered to be marketing communications.
  • the product is offered to you for free, with no expectation that there be a review or that there be a positive review (i.e. the brand has no control over any content) then the content is not considered to be marketing communications.

As I said, nothing really new here. As always, honesty is the best policy. If you’ve been paid or have paid an influencer, make sure the audience is aware of this.