The Advertising Standards Board has dismissed a complaint directed at alcoholic beverage company Lion after viewers said an Instagram influencer’s post for 5 Seeds cider didn’t promote a sun-smart attitude.
The complaints claimed that the post was in breach of clause 2.6 of the AANA Code of Ethics, which compels advertisers to avoid content and material that is contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.
The image featured the influencer, who has a reach of more than 11,000 followers, sitting on the beach in the sun, wearing a bikini and holding a bottle of 5 Seeds.
The post was captioned ‘Girls just wanna have sun’ and featured the sun emoji and bikini emoji image.
One complainant took issue with the post because they claimed it was “likely to encourage young women to expose themselves to the sun without any form of sun protection, and is clearly contrary to these prevailing Community Standards”.
In response, Lion argued that the ad was approved through its internal process and did not breach the Code of Ethics.
It said the caption ‘Girls just wanna have sun’, is clearly intended to be a play on words from the famous Cindi Lauper song ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ and “refers to the influencer’s preference to enjoy a 5 Seeds cider while she takes a moment to enjoy her surroundings at the beach”, the company said.
The advertising standards board considered whether viewers of the post were likely to go out and sunbake as a direct result of the campaign, but dismissed the complaint on the basis that it was unlikely the post would prompt viewers to change their behaviours around being sun smart.
The influencer marketing space is a newer social media concept and is slowly starting to be employed by a number of different companies, with a large focus on Instagram. Director of Inside Out PR, Nicole Reaney, says questions about how social media influencers are able to promote products will continue to be an issue into the future.
“(Social influencers) bring peer to peer powerful messaging, and is a fast, cost-effective and trusted medium for brands,” Reaney says.
“Paid endorsements by online influencers are now used by 52 percent of online marketers—a number that is quickly closing in on display ads (58 percent) as the top paid avenue for online advertising, [They are] Generally affordable, flexible and relate-able to the population, these marketing assets are making waves in brand campaigns,” she says.
In regards to cases such as the 5 Seeds post, Reaney believes that the ‘informality of the channel’ could prove a challenge for advertisers in the future when it comes to complaints to Ad Standards, with a large volume of content being posted.
“It does make brands vulnerable to cases against their campaigns. To avoid pitfalls and gain control, it’s recommended that influencers are thoroughly briefed by the company and a content agreement is in place.” Reaney says.
SmartCompany contacted Lion for further comment but did not receive a response prior to publication. The influencer post has since been deleted.
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