The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against Nike, Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere for using Twitter to transmit promotional ads which were not clearly labelled as promotional. Nike has been told to ensure that any future advertising – including tweets – are “clearly identifiable as such”.
Social media streams are, of course, used for promotion all the time. In a way, we’re all promoting ourselves. From the ASA’s adjudication, the issue is all around clarity. In their adjudication, the ASA commented: “We considered the tweets were not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications.” They suggest such tweets need to be clearly marked, perhaps with a hashtag such as #ad.
The problematic tweets were sent as part of a pre-agreed sponsorship with Nike, and used promotional tweets put out in January. The activities were part of a “makeitcount” campaign, highlighting new year’s resolutions.
Wayne Rooney’s tweet was: “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount”
While Wilshere’s Twitter account put out: “In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country. #makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount”
Nike argued, unsuccessfully, that the inclusion of the Nike URL in the tweet made it clear these were promotional tweets. The ASA disagreed, and said they contravene the advertising code.
What do you think? Is it buyer beware? Or should we have an advert hashtag, as suggested, included in all promotional tweets?
The full adjudication is online here.