Social media advertising is a growing business. It’s also one that is sometimes difficult to police. So far, because it’s still fairly new, more businesses are going down this route – mainly because it is much cheaper than conventional campaigns. Subliminal messages, company straplines and slogans have all been appearing on sites such as Twitter.
However, could this be about to become more difficult?
Is a bit of guerrilla marketing really an advert? Can a Twitter hashtag be seen as a full-blown advertising campaign? Are the rules more usually associated with broadcast advertisements applicable? The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) think so – and have made sure that we know they are wise to it!
The ASA recently looked at Nike’s “Make it count” Twitter campaign. This specifically involved Wayne Rooney and fellow footballer Jack Wiltshere sending out a tweet to more than 4 million followers.
Rooney tweeted : “My resolution – to start the year as a champion and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount.”
This is the first time that the ASA has banned a Twitter campaign, ruling that the tweets didn’t make clear the fact that they were advert. The argument is that marketing messages should always be ‘identifiable.’
So, where does this leave those of us who work in PR, advertising or broadcasting?
It is well documented that more of us are using social media in order to get a message across. Target markets and demographics can be easily reached on sites such as Facebook or Twitter and it’s an easy way to get a message out there. However, just like any other medium, the fine line between content and advertising should not be crossed. The ASA’s message is simple – #makesuretheyknowitisanad #orelse!