Calling all riders: do the ASA influencer rules apply to you?

Do you use social media? Emily Mumford of InkPot & Press Media Services sheds light on whether you should be marking some of your posts as adverts — don’t get caught out by these new regulations...

‘Sponsored rider’ or ‘brand ambassador’ are well recognised terms within equestrianism, but how many individuals actually play by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules when promoting the brands they are associated with?

The recently revised ASA guidelines have been prevalent in mainstream media over recent weeks with big-name influencers, such as YouTube sensation Zoella, vowing to be more transparent with the content that they produce in collaboration with the brands they work with.

These guidelines have been developed to ensure influencers (in equestrian terms, sponsored riders or brand ambassadors) are being transparent when they are promoting products or services for which they receive a reward in return. This reward could be in the form of money or free products/services or both.

According to the ASA, when influencers create content to promote the products/services or brands that they are working with, that content should be clearly identifiable as an advert.

There are a number of different ways that content can be labelled to do just that:

#AD

You work with a brand to create content that they have a creative control over — that can range from telling you exactly what to write, say or include in a video or picture and how many times they want you to post to simply insisting you use a certain hashtag or by reserving the right to ask you to change the content after it is posted AND they pay you cash

#ADGifted – this will apply to the majority of equestrian influencers

You work with a brand to create content that they have a creative control over — that can range from telling you exactly what to write, say or include in a video or picture and how many times they want you to post to simply insisting you use a certain hashtag or by reserving the right to ask you to change the content after it is posted AND they give you free products or a free service in return for that content

#Gifted

You are sent a product or given a service with no mention of content creation in return meaning the brand has no creative control over any content you may choose to produce.

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One further notable stipulation is that these labels should be clearly identifiable to the audience without them having to interact with the content in any way. For example, the label should come at the beginning of a caption or clearly on an Instagram or Facebook story post without the person seeing it having to click further into that post.

Check out a much more in-depth look at the ASA rules (including a useful flow diagram)

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