In 2011 our online remit was extended to cover marketing claims on companies own websites, including in social media space. Advertisers should bear in mind that for claims on their own websites and in other non-paid-for-space online under their control to be classified as advertising, they must be “directly connected with the supply of goods or services, opportunities, prizes or gifts”.
One thing we don’t regulate is sponsorship. However we do have very strict rules on the disclosure of ads, in other words being upfront and clear about when an ad is an ad, and we take action against advertisers who try and make ads look like editorial content. This is becoming increasingly common online and on social media where brands are working with “social influencers” and celebrities to promote their products. It is important that any posts where the advertiser is paying the content-owner and has full editorial control over the message or visual being seen by the consumer, are labelled correctly with the word “ad” or “advert” to let consumers know this content was not spontaneously generated.
Ads that appear in-app or in-game should also be clearly labelled as ads and not disguised as part of the app’s or game’s content.
Similarly, Advergames which typically are electronic games used to advertise a product, brand or an organisation are also covered by the advertising rules and should not mislead or cause harm and offence. Advertisers should familiarise themselves with the rules around children and advertising when preparing advergames as the content of ads such as these needs to be targeted appropriately.
We also regulate ads that feature during on-demand catch-up TV and radio programmes. These ads must adhere to the non-broadcast advertising rules.