The UK’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has banned a twitter campaign from Nike. The complaint centred around tweets from footballers Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere.
The ASA understood that, as part of their sponsorship deal with Nike, the footballers were required to take part in marketing activities and that both were asked to submit their own ideas as to what to write as part of their tweet. We understood that the tweet’s final content was agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team.
We considered the average Twitter user would follow a number of people on the site and they would receive a number of tweets throughout the day, which they may scroll through quickly. We noted the Code did not just require ads to be identifiable as marketing communications but that they must be obviously identifiable as such.
We noted the ad included a Nike URL which directed users to the Nike website and that it contained the hashtag, #makeitcount which referred to their new “make it count” campaign that launched around the same time the tweets appeared. However, we considered that the Nike reference was not prominent and could be missed, consumers would not have already been aware of Nike’s “#makeitcount” campaign and that not all Twitter users would be aware of the footballers’ and their teams’ sponsorship deal with Nike. We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications. In the absence of such an indication, for example #ad, we considered the tweets were not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications and therefore concluded they breached the Code.
The full decision is here
You can read more about it over on The Guardian.