Influencer marketing: How transparent should we be?

Do celebrities really need to shout about a sponsored post?

The Lord (aka Scott Disick) can always be relied upon to cause controversy, so when he posted this clearly-sponsored Tweet earlier this year it was firstly a hilarious marketing fail. But it also had the entire internet abuzz about it… So was this the publicity he was looking for or was it an accident for real?


Even though he quickly fixed his copy-and-paste faux pas, I guess we will never know if it was intentional or not. But it does present some questions about how transparent we should be when using influencer marketing to sell products and not deceive the public.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently levelled more stringent rules and regulations with regard to this type of marketing. Among those regulations is one that requires that it must be clearly disclosed to be “sponsored” or similar as not to mislead the public. In South Africa, similarly, we have the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA). It has a clear sponsorship code that also makes provision that “sponsorship and related communication should not be misleading or untruthful

Therefore, should celebrities and athletes become more transparent with their sponsored tweets? Is #sponsored going to become a thing? It does seem a bit too forced but it’s better for the public to be aware that a message is being sponsored by a brand than incorrectly thinking that the influencer is personally endorsing the product. The main objectives of regulations like these are fairness, authenticity and disclosure to protect the public.

Many brands, agencies and influencers alike are not aware of the regulations and it’s easy to see how mistakes are made. Take a look at @PatLambie as an example of an authentic and transparent influencer. You can see he clearly has sponsorship deals with big brands including Adidas, Toyota and Jockey. He doesn’t tag #sponsored or #ad, however, his posts are clearly branded.



What do you think about this issue? Let us know in the comments below.

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