An advertorial for Dylon on the entertainment and news website BuzzFeed, seen on 9 October 2015, headed “14 Laundry Fails We’ve All Experienced”. It was styled as a BuzzFeed article and featured photos and social media posts highlighting laundry ‘fails’. Below the heading, text stated “Dylon Brand Publisher” next to the logo for Dylon’s Colour Catcher product. At the bottom of the advertorial, text stated “It’s at times like these we are thankful that Dylon Colour Catcher is there to save us from ourselves. You lose, little red sock!”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as such.
BuzzFeed UK Ltd responded on both their and Henkel Ltd’s behalf. They said that, as the ASA had not previously ruled on whether a label such as the one in the ad would be sufficient to alert consumers to the fact that it was a marketing communication, they relied on their US practices to guide how they labelled ads. They highlighted that at the top of the web page the Dylon logo was featured alongside the text “Dylon Brand Publisher” and that the statement “It’s at times like these we are thankful that Dylon Colour Catcher is there to save us from ourselves. You lose, little red sock!” appeared at the bottom of the ad. The words “Dylon Colour Catcher” were in a different colour and linked to the Colour Catcher website. There was also a link that stated “Next on Dylon …”.
BuzzFeed added that, where the ad was promoted on their website’s home page, it was flagged with a highlighted label in yellow, which stated “PROMOTED BY” followed by the Dylon name and logo. Where the ad appeared in search listings, it was flagged with a highlighted label in yellow, which stated “ADVERTISER”, followed by Dylon’s name and logo. They said those labels differentiated the ad from editorial content which was labelled with an individual reporter’s name, picture and title.
The ASA noted the labels which featured alongside the references to the advertorial on BuzzFeed’s home page and search listings and considered that website visitors who clicked through to the ad from those listings would understand that they were clicking through to advertorial content. However, because consumers could arrive at the advertorial via a range of other means we considered it was necessary for it to be made immediately clear on the web page itself that it featured advertorial content.
The right-hand side of the upper part of the web page featured a live feed from Dylon’s Colour Catcher Facebook page, followed by links to two “Top Posts From Dylon” (which were also advertorial content on BuzzFeed).The bottom of the web page included the text “It’s at times like these we are thankful that Dylon Colour Catcher is there to save us from ourselves”. While we acknowledged that these elements implied a connection with Dylon, we considered they were not sufficient to make clear that the main content of the web page was an advertorial and that editorial content was therefore retained by the advertiser. We further noted that the web page was very long and visitors to it would therefore not see the reference to Dylon Colour Catcher at the bottom of the page until they had already engaged with the content. We acknowledged the inclusion of the label “Brand Publisher” near the top of the web page next to the Dylon name and logo, but we considered it was not particularly prominent and the terminology did not, either in itself or in conjunction with the other page elements, adequately convey the commercial nature of the content to consumers. We therefore concluded that the ad was not obviously identifiable as such and that it therefore breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. and 2.4 2.4 Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them "advertisement feature". (Recognition of marketing communications).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Henkel Ltd and BuzzFeed UK Ltd to ensure that ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, including by using labels other than “Brand Publisher” for advertorials.