#Influencers #Advertisement #Sponsored
As an influencer, if you promote a brand on social media, is it a legal requirement to disclose the full relationship with that brand?
According to the South African Advertising Regulatory Board (Appendix K to its Code of Conduct) and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, it is an obligation not to mislead the public in any way whatsoever. The Consumer Protection Act and Regulatory Code of Conduct do not specifically deal with influencers marketing or advertising for brands on social media, however the Code of Conduct does state that “…advertisements should be clearly distinguishable as such whatever their form and whatever the medium used “
This assesment was determined based on a complaint regarding a commercial relationship between a social media influencer known as “Kandy Kane (@kandykanemakeup)” and Volvo South Africa (Pty) Ltd. Volvo contested that it provided a Volvo to influencers as a trade exchange and influencers then share their experiences on their social media platforms. The Board determined that this relationship was not one of organic social media endorsement. Therefore, by interpretation, Kandy Kane and Volvo had neither evidently nor adequately identified their paid advertising relationship. Volvo amended its advertising so as to comply with the ruling.
The Board continued that this format of advertising is “…a new and important issue.” With respects to future events, distinctive social media identifiers were recommended by the Board to provide transparency and avoid consumer confusion.
Should this process not be followed, the ramifications may very well be material, and in some instances, may lead to criminal sanction.
It is to note that this seemingly draconian obligation is not unique to South Africa. South Africa is merely following international best practises.
It is thus prudent to seek expert legal advise prior to engaging in social media advertisements.
For further information, please contact Alan Alhadeff at Alhadeff Attorneys firstname.lastname@example.org