It is considered illegal under Consumer Protection law if you don’t disclosure sponsored or paid for content, this applies to both the UK and US. Currently, there are efforts being made to step-up enforcement for those guilty of non-disclosure.
You may have seen other bloggers and influencers talking about the guidelines and recommendations to follow. In the UK currently, the enforcement is upheld by the Competition and Markets Authority (CAM), whilst over in the USA, these matters are dealt with by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You may have seen a few weeks ago the FTC sent out a letter to a long list of Influencers and Celebrities about their non-disclosure, you can see how many you know here.
Back to being compliant, the UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) set out in their ‘Code of Conduct’ to help both brands and bloggers and influencers to understand the haze of legal requirements for promoted posts.
There are 5 instances in which sponsored content is required to be disclosed. This helps readership and following to distinguish between the content that has been published specifically by influencers and that which has been paid for by brands.
Types of content that requires disclosed
Paid content is typically paid in the form of advertising, sponsorship or gifting:
Advertising = A brand has complete editorial control in return for a fee paid towards the influencer
Sponsorship = A brand has partial editorial control in return for a fee paid towards the influencer
Gifting = A brand provides goods or exchanges with a service in return for content in which the influencer maintains full editorial control.
A disclosure statement is extremely straightforward to place and is easily replicated across all content. We suggest creating a full disclosure page for your site with the full terms of your disclosure. Here are a few examples of the types of statements that are legally required at the beginning of all paid content to be compliant with the regulations.
Disclaimer: This item was provided complimentary by [INSERT BRAND], all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.
Disclaimer: This stay was provided complimentary by [INSERT BRAND], all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by [INSERT BRAND], all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.
Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary by [INSERT BRAND’], all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.
In order to be compliant, you should clearly identify which kind of endorsement you have received for the content such as ‘ This is sponsored post’ or ‘The brand gifted me this product in exchange for a fair and honest review’.
You can label content across social media with the #Spon or #Ad. Across blog posts, you should clearly stipulate that the content is an ‘Advertisement’ or ‘Sponsored Content’/
Is your site compliant with the regulations? What are your thoughts on disclosure? Do you think influencers should have to disclose paid for content or not? Let us hear your views below.