The United Kingdom's advertising watchdog is not going to allow Nike to let athletes and entertainers tweet endorsements for brands that sponsor them. Simply because they don't clearly label the posts as advertisements.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says Nike crossed a line this year when two English soccer stars tweeted messages advertising Nike's "Make It count" campaign but didn't tell the followers that the messages were ads.
Here’s one of the tweets in questions, from Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire posted a similar tweet that also used the #makeitcount hashtag and directed followers back to the Nike site.
The ASA received a complaints from an unnamed source that it was not clear enough that Rooney and Wilshire's tweets were advertisements according to Guardian. According to subsequent investigation, the messages were “agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team,” the ASA said.
“We considered that the Nike reference was not prominent and could be missed,” the ASA said. “We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications.”
It’s the first time the ASA has banned a Twitter campaign.
Earlier this year, the ASA investigated Snickers for promotional tweets by soccer star Rio Ferdinand and model Katie Price. Snickers was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was asked At the Wired Biz Conference in May about celebrities such as Paris Hilton selling tweets for thousands of dollars and starring the end of the posts with “*ad.”
Costolo answered in part that, “we say in our terms of service very clearly, ‘Users own their own tweets, period.’ So if that’s what people want to do with their tweets, they can go ahead and do that. And we’re not going to say, ‘Users own their own tweets except if they have a relationship with some third party, etc. So, if people want to go do that, then they can do that. If their followers respect that, great.”
What do you think of the ASA's treatment on brands? Do you think brands and celebrities who endorse them should label their posts as ads just so fans would be aware? Share your thoughts!