An ad or not an ad? That is the question. Widespread media coverage and comment on a recent ASA ruling involving Nike has brought into focus the use of celebrity Twitter accounts as a marketing tool and the importance of ensuring consumers recognise they are seeing an advertisement.

The Advertising Code is clear, ads should be obviously identifiable as such. Nike fell foul of the rules when marketing through the Twitter accounts of two football players, Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere. We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike advertisements.

While using celebrities to endorse and promote products and services through Twitter is entirely legitimate it is important that any ad in this space adheres to the same rules that apply across media. Following the ASA’s ruling the Committee of Advertising Practice has outlined the lessons for advertisers.


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