The game changes for South African Influencers
A new rule by the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) will change the game for “Influencers” in South Africa. The ARB has announced that influencers must now indicate that a social media post is an advert, even if its not a paid promotion.
According to the Code of Advertising Practice it states that advertisers are required to disclose if content is part of a social media advertising campaign as opposed to purely organic social media:
The following identifiers should be used by influencers to differentiate their posts:
“To ensure full transparency publishers and influencers are required to disclose if they were provided (permanently or on loan) with goods or services in return for media coverage (whether this is expressly stated or not),” the ARB said.
This will help reinforce publisher and influencer integrity while allowing the consumer to make a clear, informed decision of the applicable content, product or service.
To avoid any legal action taken against brands and businesses working with influencers they would need to make sure that they adhere to the rules set out by the ARB. Brand owners and influencers must make sure that they have written agreements in place dealing with, inter alia, the nature of the engagement and the influencer’s brief, the nature of remuneration (which may include money and/or free products or services), details of social media advertising content relating to the brand, and if it will be influencer-created or scripted (in which instance the influencer should clearly disclose or credit the content creator).
The agreement should also set out any mandatory warnings or statements that may be relevant to a particular industry and required in the influencer advertising (as an example, the underage statement “Not for sale to persons under the age of 18 years” should appear in all advertising for alcoholic beverages or brands).
Brand owners should take note that they will have the primary responsibility to ensure that social media advertising, including influencer advertising for their brands, complies with the relevant advertising guidelines.
These guidelines are aimed at transparency in advertising, and ensuring that consumers can clearly distinguish between advertising, and other online material. In addition, for reputational and ethical reasons, influencers are also encouraged to comply with the social media guidelines, to ensure that their followers immediately understand the nature and extent of their relationship with a product, service or business brand appearing on their social media newsfeed.
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