Regulator bans ex-Love Island star’s Instagram post

Ex-Love Island contestant Olivia Buckland has had another Instagram post promoting a cosmetic product banned after failing to identify it as an advertisement.

The post made in February featured the lingerie-clad TV personality holding a pink bottle bearing the logo of the Cocoa Brown brand, with text stating: “The V-Day prep is well underway and I’m topping up my tan with my fave @cocoabrowntan by @marissacarter 1 HOUR TAN MOUSSE… more”.

When the caption was clicked on, additional text stated: “Original – it gives me such a natural glow with no streaks and is the perfect accessory for date night with bae Get yours now @superdrug #TeamCB #CocoaBrownTan #ValentinesDay #BrandAmbassador”.

A viewer complained and challenged whether the post was obviously identifiable as an advertisement.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the post had breached rules covering marketing communications.

The watchdog previously banned a May 2018 video Instagram post by the former Love Island star about eye shadow because she failed to mark it as an advertisement.

According to the ASA, Cocoa Brown said it had advised Buckland to write “#ad” in all future posts on Instagram.

Buckland said she thought the use of the text “#BrandAmbassador” made it clear the post was an advertisement and provided a dictionary definition of the term as “a person who is paid or given free products by a company in exchange for wearing or using its products and trying to encourage others to do so”.

The ASA said it understood that as a brand ambassador for Cocoa Brown, Buckland was paid to market their products, with the company having some control over the content she created to promote them.

It noted Buckland’s belief that the inclusion of the term “brand ambassador” in her Instagram bio made clear that some of her posts were marketing communications.

“However, we considered that her bio was unlikely to be seen by Instagram users at the point they were viewing individual advertising posts,” the ASA said.

It added: “We also considered that labels included in the bio were insufficiently prominent to ensure that individual posts were each obviously identifiable as ads, both when the post was viewed in-feed and when it was viewed in its entirety once users had clicked on it.

“Additionally, while the term ‘brand ambassador’ was likely to suggest to readers a general relationship with the brand, we considered that it was unlikely to convey that Cocoa Brown had both paid for and had a level of control over the content of the post.

“We then assessed the post as it would have appeared in-feed and considered that there was nothing in its content, such as “#ad” placed upfront, that made clear to those viewing it that it was an ad.”

The ASA concluded that the advertisement breached rules and must not appear in the form complained about, adding: “We told Cocoa Brown and Olivia Buckland to ensure that their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, for example by including a clear and prominent identifier such as #ad.”

In September last year, the ASA launched a guide to help social media influencers and bloggers stick to advertising rules when promoting products after a number of rulings found they had misled their followers.

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