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Influencer marketing rules ignored

News, 08 April 2016

LONDON: Almost half of UK marketers are either unaware of the rules surrounding influencer marketing or choose to ignore them a new survey has claimed.

Takumi, an app that connects Instagram influencers with brands, polled 500 PR and marketing professionals and found that 12% didn't know what the Committee of Advertising Practice code of conduct was.

A further 35% had made a decision to disregard the code, Marketing Week reported, either because they didn't properly understand it or because they were reluctant to be transparent about paid-for content.

Some 16 months ago the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) pulled up Mondelez's Oreo brand for failing to make clear it was paying vloggers to promote the biscuit in their videos. And just days ago the Competition and Markets Authority warned several marketing companies, businesses and publishers, after it found that Starcom Mediavest and Tan Media had arranged for endorsements in online articles and blogs on behalf of Myjar, a short-term loan provider, without making it clear that they were advertising.

"Influencer marketing is a relatively new practice, and brands and marketers are still adjusting to it like they did with social media not too long ago," said Mats Stigzelius, co-founder of Takumi.

"The industry has only scratched the surface of the potential that influencer marketing holds," he added, "but for brands to develop campaigns and make them more effective there needs to be more clarity around the rules of engagement."

"We take a dim view of marketers who admit to ignoring the ad rules," said a spokesperson for the ASA, who noted that they risked having ads banned – with resulting negative publicity and damage to the brand – and could also be guilty of breaking the law.

Coming at the issue from a different standpoint, Helen Edwards, a partner at Passionbrand, argued that whatever influence vloggers like Zoella had with consumers they were also guilty of lowering the creative ambitions of marketers.

"Creative talent needs to reassert itself, and leave the tepid unoriginality of the vloggersphere behind," she declared.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Marketing; additional content by Warc staff