When lawyer and Instagram influencer Anna Heinrich posted a picture of herself in a pale green dress earlier this year, there was one significant problem.
She tagged the maker of the dress she was wearing, but failed to disclose that the label sponsors her.
According to industry regulator Ad Standards, this breached advertising transparency rules: tagging the dress brand was not sufficient to distinguish the post as advertising.
Dr Lauren Gurrieri, senior lecturer in marketing at RMIT University, says commercial relationships should be made “very clear and transparent to the audience” in social media posts.
Influencer marketing groups say recently revised guidelines make it hard for advertisers to get it wrong and make it easier for consumers to complain if they suspect a post crosses the line.
But Dr Gurrieri argues that regulating influencer marketing behaviour is a tough gig, calling it “the wild, wild west of marketing”.
She says too many complaints are dismissed by Ad Standards, and that the stakes aren’t high enough for marketers.
“There also needs to be a bit more teeth on behalf of the body that is assessing these complaints as well, to make sure that there is change being made accordingly,” she tells ABC RN’s Sunday Extra.
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