As an influencer there are rules and regulations that you need to follow when in comes to advertising a product. Every country has their own set of rules but today’s article will specifically refer to Australia.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give legal advice. Please consult your own lawyers/legal team if you need legal advice on this subjective matter.
The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) is the national board which sets out the full guidelines/rules when in comes to influencer marketing. Click HERE for full set of rules and regulations. I’ve summarised the most important/relevant points for influencers so you don’t get in trouble with the law when it comes to promoting your favourite products on Instagram (or any other platform).
What is an advertisement?
The AANA Codes classifies content as an ad where two key criteria are met:
1. Does the marketer (brand) have a reasonable degree of control over the material?
2. Does the material draw the attention of the public in a manner calculated to promote a product or service?
- If a brand sends you a product in exchange for a post (i.e. you have clear terms of agreement such as I’ll do 2 posts in exchange for a bottle of Gin) then you must disclose that it has been given to you by the company/brand. Given there was no money exchanged then there is no requirement to say #sponsored.
- If the same scenario above occurs but you are given a written script to include in your captions or even a photo to post, then you’ll need to disclose it as an #ad (not sponsored because you aren’t being paid). This comes down to the reasoning that the brand has a reasonable degree of control there fore it’s an ad and not your opinion. However the grey area is defining reasonable degree of control. E.g. It may be your own opinions but the brand has given you talking points. Is this then an ad or not?
- If a brand sends you a product with out any terms or agreement in place (e.g. PR lists) then there is no requirement to disclose anything. You might still want to for transparency purposes but legally you don’t have to.
- Sponsored posts are where you get paid as well as receive the product to promote on your social platforms. In this case the disclosure of sponsorship is a must e.g. #sponsored . If the brand has either given you a script to write in your captions or other marketing materials to include (i.e they they have a reasonable degree of control ) then you must also include #ad.
The rules/regulations are so vast, complex and grey. There are many ways that brands/influencers can by pass these rules to avoid disclosing a sponsorship or ad. I’ll leave you with a scenario where an influencer/brand deal might by pass the disclosure laws.
A gin brand pays 100000 dollars to an influencer to promote their product on an ongoing basis. Both parties agree to just show the bottle in the back ground without any mention about the company in the captions. Legally the influencer does not have to disclose anything at all! This is a form of product placement and although there is no mention of the brand, if the audience is exposed to the imagery long enough they might start enquiring about it which in turn can lead to sales.
This article only touches the surface of influencer marketing rules/regulations. Each country has their own set of rules so please make sure to check with your governing body.
At the end of the day being open about the situation is the best policy. If in doubt just disclose it as #ad , #sponsored or both. If you fail to meet the marketing guidelines, both the influencer and brand can incur penalties!