The advertising watchdog has banned posts by influencer Carl Woods for clothing brand Engage after he failed to disclose they were ads.
Woods, the boyfriend of former glamour model Katie Price, wore the “gift” of a T-shirt emblazoned with Engage for free to help the “small, start-up brand”, the label said.
Engage said there was no agreement in place with Woods, but had asked his representatives if it could send him some T-shirts and he could post while wearing them if he liked them.
Engage said it was unaware of the requirements regarding the labelling of ads.
Woods’ representatives told the ASA they did not realise that posts of that sort had to be labelled, which was why the post did not include the tag “paid partnership”, as was the case with his other ad campaigns.
The Instagram story on the @carljwoods Instagram page, seen on March 5, read: “Delighted to announced I have teamed up with @Engage_Clothing,” with a thumbs up emoji.
He continued: “A new start up brand who are going to do really well! Drop them a follow please!”
Another post on March 31 featured Woods wearing a black T-shirt with the Engage branding on the front, with text below stating: “My mates over @Engage_Clothing are dropping this COOL black signature tee tonight at 8pm! Click the link in my bio … #Wednesdays #MustHaves #NewReleases #RushToBuy #NewCollection #EngageClothing #Tee”
The ASA said Engage Clothing had sufficient control over the content of the social media posts, in conjunction with a payment to Mr Woods, for them to be considered ads.
The ASA said: “We understood that the branded T-shirts were not requested by Mr Woods from Engage, but they were sent to him following prior communication between them and his representatives, agreeing that if he liked the product he would wear it and post about it. We considered that the sending of T-shirts to Mr Woods as a gift constituted a payment to him.
“Because the posts were not obviously identifiable as marketing communications, we concluded that they breached the Code.”
The ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again, adding: “We told Engage Clothing UK and Carl Woods to ensure that in future their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, and that identifiers such as #ad were clearly and prominently displayed.”