Ad description

An Instagram post for Primark by Gabby Allen, seen on 1 August 2021, featured an image of Gabby Allen with the caption "Feeling fab but chilled Wearing these jeans and top from one and only @primark #iworkwithprimark".

Issue

The complainant challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication.

Response

Primark Stores Ltd confirmed that the post was made as part of Ms Allen’s contractual obligations to Primark. They said that they believed the label “#iworkwithprimark” was unambiguous, and that the average consumer would understand the word “work” in the label as a reference to the commercial relationship between Primark and Ms Allen. The CAP Code, they said, stated that an advertisement must be interpreted in context and taken as a whole. As such, Instagram users who viewed Ms Allen’s feed would have seen the label when they opened the post, making it obviously identifiable as an ad.

Gabby Allen said the post had been updated to include the label "#ad".

Assessment

Upheld

The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such, and marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials were marketing communications. The ASA understood that Ms Allen had a commercial relationship with Primark and that posts made under that relationship fell within the remit of the CAP Code. We considered that they were therefore jointly responsible for ensuring that marketing activity conducted on Ms Allen’s account promoting Primark was compliant with the CAP Code.

We noted that Ms Allen had used the label “#iworkwithprimark” in the post caption, and that it had appeared at the end of the post caption. However, we considered that the use of the word “work” in the label was ambiguous, and did not fully explain her relationship with Primark. We considered that the label was long and unclear, and its content and meaning would not have been immediately obvious to consumers. We also considered that the label was insufficiently prominent to ensure that the post was obviously identifiable as an ad, since the label appeared at the end of the post caption, and would not have been visible when viewed in-feed – only becoming fully visible when it was viewed in its entirety once users had clicked on it.

We welcomed Primark and Ms Allen’s assurance that the post caption had been updated to include the label “#ad”. However, that label still appeared at the end of the caption, which meant that it would not have been immediately visible to consumers viewing the post in-feed on Instagram. Furthermore, at the time it was made the post had not featured any label identifying it as a marketing communication.

In the absence of clear and prominent identifiers, we concluded that the post was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and as such breached the Code.The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.  (Recognition of marketing communications).

Action

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Primark Stores Ltd and Gabby Allen to ensure that their future ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, and that identifiers such as “#ad” were clearly and prominently displayed.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

2.1     2.3     2.4    


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