Posted by John North, Partner
First UK Twitter advertising ban
Nike have become the first UK company to have a Twitter advertising campaign banned by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The decision follows a single complaint made to the ASA about two tweets posted by Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney and Arsenal player Jack Wilshere on their personal accounts.
Wayne Rooney who is said to have close to 4.8 million followers tweeted on 1 January 2012 ”My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount”.
Jack Wilshere’s tweet read ”In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country gonike.me/Makeitcount”.
It is understood from the ASA’s investigation that the final contents of the tweets were “agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team”.
The ASA said that the tweets did not make clear they were “identifiable as marketing communications”. Nike pointed out that the presence of its web address and hashtag with its marketing campaign strapline distinguished the tweets from personal posts by the players. However The ASA said these elements did not make the tweets “obviously identifiable” as adverts, bearing in mind that many Twitter users scroll through many tweets a day at speed. It also added that not all of the social network’s users would have been aware of Nike’s “make it count” campaign.
The ASA has commented that this type of advertising on Twitter is new territory for the regulator however this did not mean that the same advertising rules would not apply.
It is suggested that in future to avoid falling foul of advertising code companies should add #ad or some other clear indication that a message had been paid for.