Two posts for North Wests Competitions appearing on Chet Johnson's Instagram stories, seen on 6 January 2021:
a. The first post featured text that stated “@northwestscompetitions.uk”. Below that was text that stated “FREE GIVE AWAY TICKET TOO … SWIPE UP”. Next to that the word “AD” appeared in small text.
b. The second post featured text that stated “ENTER FOR AS LITTLE AS 99p”. Below that was text that stated “@northwestscompetitions.uk” followed by the word “#AD” in small text.
IssueThe complainant challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were obviously identifiable as marketing communications.
ResponseNorth Wests Competitions Ltd did not respond to the ASA enquiries. Chet Johnson said that he would ensure his future marketing communications on social media were clearly and prominently labelled.
The ASA was concerned by North Wests Competitions' lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. The ASA understood that Chet Johnson was promoting North Wests Competitions’ website and competitions. The stories in ads (a) and (b) featured Mr Johnson encouraging his followers to purchase tickets for the advertiser’s competitions and ad (a) also included a swipe-up link to their website. We noted both story posts featured the label “AD”. However, we considered that label appeared in text that was so small that it would have been easily missed by most consumers. We considered that presentation meant the labels were unclear and lacking in prominence, since they were so small as to be almost illegible. In the absence of clear and prominent identifiers, we concluded the story posts were not obviously identifiable as marketing communications.
We acknowledged Mr Johnson understood that the story posts should have been more clearly and prominently labelled as ads and welcomed his assurances that future promotional posts would be labelled more clearly. Nevertheless, in the absence of identifiers on the posts being made clear and prominent, we considered that they were not obviously identifiable as a marketing communications.
We therefore concluded that the ads had breached the Code. The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told North Wests Competitions Ltd to ensure that their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, for example by including clear and prominent identifiers. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.