The laws around gifting influencers

The rules and laws around gifting influencers in the UK are complex. The reality is there are two bodies who have different rules around gifting items to influencers in the UK, so despite one body saying one thing, the other doesn’t, so let’s try and clear it up.

Who set the gifting influencer regulations?

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are the UK’s advertising regulator. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) write the ad code. These two have been heavily involved in influencer marketing in recent years. However, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), a UK Government division, have different rules to influencer gifting.  

ASA and CAP rules state if you’re gifted in return for a post, that’s the same as any monetary payment. So, that’s not a gift, that’s a paid for promotion. That means it requires #ad or #advert displayed clearly in the post.

However, they also say if a brand gifts an influencer an item and asks for nothing in return and has no control over what is posted this isn’t an ad, and so does not need to be disclosed.

Where it gets confusing in the UK is the CMA’s rules. They state you must say when you’ve been given or loaned items regardless of the circumstances if you choose to post about it.

So, what’s the solution? Well, gifting without expecting anything in return in the eyes of the ASA and the CAP is seen as sponsorship and so the ASA will not pursue complaints about it.  However, the CMA (under consumer protection legislation) expects influencers to disclose everything. As noted on the CMA website “if you have not purchased a product or service yourself, but have received it for free, make this clear.”

Do not be misleading. Do not be ambiguous. Be upfront about everything.

For more information, contact the Copy Advice Team who will help and have been a great resource for us. Also, check out this article on Bird & Bird for more details about the regulations in place.

Influencer Marketing Agency - Colossal Influence
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