Have you had a chance to watch one of the two dueling Fyre Festival documentaries on either Netflix or Hulu?
You really should – it’s a good watch on either service but one thing it really draws into clear relief is just how powerful social media influencers are, especially those on Instagram.
And it looks like the UK Competition and Markets Authority has had enough of these types posting ads under the guise of personal content.
In a new series of guidelines released following an investigation into some of the most prominent influencers on the Instagram platform, the CMA now requires influencers to clearly post that it is sponsored content, any gifts given to the influencer must also be identified as sponsored content whether that is the case or not, and each individual corporate relationship must be declared in each and every post featuring them.
Basically, it’s not enough to list it in your profile. Posts have to be regarded in isolation and their sponsors listed in totality.
The rules come after the CMA, which has the ability to bring actions against individuals unlike the Advertising Markets Authority, investigated repeat offenders and came to agreements with them individually and separately according to the BBC.
Chief exec of the CMA Andrea Coscelli had this to say about influencers and the new guidelines: “”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. …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.”
But not everyone agrees with the CMA’s stance.
Lewis Silkin legal directory Geraint Lloyd-Taylor commented to the BBC, “The CMA has portrayed these posts as if some celebrities are deliberately trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their fans, but often it is just that the various guidance is difficult to follow. …I think the hashtag #ad will become the default, but it seems that the CMA intends to also look more at what the platforms are doing and it might be that we see more built-in tools and other changes from them as well.”
Stars investigated included Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding, among others. Those who violate the CMA’s standards could face fines in the future.
What do you think? Do influencers have an outsized impact on consumer trends? Let us know in the comments.