It's only right that ASA should be active in warning influencers for not being transparent about relationships with brands that pay for mentions. The watchdog had to remind a former "Love Island" contestant last week, for a second time, that #ad needs to accompany paid-for posts.
It surely only must be right and proper, then, that television is not let off the hook, and when influencers and celebrities are paid to go on the news and talk about a topic, it should be made clear that they are being paid by a brand. No?
A potential case in point came this morning on "BBC Breakfast" when the guy who came in fourth in this year's "Love Island" -- I think his name is Curtis -- was on the couch talking about the importance of saving. A young hunk moving from trying to pair up with a young lady in a bikini to reminding people of the need to be financially prudent was, to say the least, a bit of a surprise.
That was until he mentioned it was the building society, Nationwide, that had made him realise the importance of saving on the day you get paid. He even name-checked their "Payday Saveday" campaign line.
I don't know about you, but I'm rather wondering whether Curtis was plucked from posting selfies on Instagram to promote this scheme. We have to wonder because, of course, there is no transparency on celebrities being paid to go out and flog brands' latest campaigns on television. On social they would need to add an #ad. On television there is no such need.
It's something I have a bee in my bonnet about. Sure, when celebrities go on to talk up a charity they love, that's fair enough -- one can see they are giving time to a cause. However, I would say that most days, the tv news and radio has celebrities talking about new research on all manner of subjects and new projects launched by well-known brands. I
t's impossible to say they are not doing it out of kindness, but I would suggest it is often the case that they are being paid as "communicators" to go out there and grab attention.
How else would a bank saying you need to put away a bit of your salary each month get coverage unless there's some "Love Island" contestant who is guaranteed to get time on a talk-show sofa?
So, if influencer marketing on social has to be transparent -- why shouldn't broadcast?