Regardless of who has provided an endorsement or testimonial, it is the marketer’s responsibility to ensure its use in a marketing communication doesn’t fall foul of the Code. With the Six Nations kicking off in just over two weeks, marketers are reminded of the relevant Code requirements and that they should ‘try’ hard to ensure compliance.
Official sponsors of the Six Nations may refer to it in their advertising, but other marketers should take care not to imply there is an official affiliation. As always, the overall impression of an ad will be taken into account, so any images, icons and symbols will contribute to the ASA’s assessment of how consumers are likely to interpret an ad. General references to the Six Nations or general messages of support for a team are likely to be considered acceptable, provided they do not imply official sponsorship.
Privacy, permission and documentary evidence
Before using a testimonial or endorsement in a marketing communication, advertisers should ensure they have permission to use it in such a way and that they are able to demonstrate this. While prior permission might not be needed if the content is consistent with the position or views of the featured person, marketers are advised to seek permission before stating or implying players use or endorse certain products or services.
Celebrities and social media
As with all endorsements, those involving celebrities must be accurate and genuine. Marketers are reminded that ads on social media are also subject to the Code and if marketers have paid for a celebrity to mention their product or brand in a post on Facebook or Twitter, for example, and the marketer has control over the content, the post would be considered an ad and should therefore make this clear by, for example, stating “#Ad”. See Remit: Social Media.
Marketers should remember that players, or supporters, who are, or appear to be, under the age of 25 must not play a significant role in alcohol ads (rule 18.16), or they’ll be handed a red card by the ASA.
If gambling marketers wish to avoid the same fate, they should be aware that the same applies to featuring under 25s in ads for their services (rule 16.3.14), unless the sportsperson depicted is the subject of the bet being offered and the ad appears where a bet can be placed directly through a transactional facility. See Betting and gaming: Featuring under 25s.
If you are a marketer and would like further advice on this, or any other issue, please contact the CAP Copy Advice team for guidance.