ASA Calls For Clearer Guidelines

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Speaking at a British advertisers conference yesterday, Guy Parker, the CEO of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) talked about how there is a greater need for clearer guidelines for bloggers and vloggers who receive products and payments in the hope or expectation that a review, hopefully positive, will be posted.

He talked about the recent Oreo (Mondelez) ruling and said that a lot of bloggers and vloggers had been in touch with almost all of them being supportive of the ruling.

The speech in full is available on the ASA website, and it’s well worth a read (the section about vlogging/blogging starts about halfway down). The section that has especially interested us was this:

Or a brand has contacted bloggers and offered to send them on a short holiday, providing them with their branded equipment and organising activities to show it off. In return, all they want is for the holiday to be covered in blog posts with links to their website, along with some “nice” social media coverage on Instagram and Twitter. No contract or fee this time, and no mention of any control over the content of the blogs, but this a pretty specific arrangement and the equipment and holiday are worth a fair bit. Is this an ad or editorial?

It’s something that isn’t covered by the current Code (the advertiser ), but posts written under these conditions could be unfairly influenced by the free holiday, etc. It’s brilliant that the ASA are looking at these sort of cases

He also mentioned that bloggers and vloggers have said that they want the clearer guidelines to be able to push back against those companies and PR people who will try to persuade them that they don’t need to disclose. Don’t be afraid to say no to those sort of offers!

There’s also a consultation on the gov.uk website that’s worth a look – there’s a blogger response form which if you have time, would be really worth you filling out.

What do you think? Do you think this is a positive step?

Hayley Constantine

Hayley has been blogging since before most people knew what a blog was! She started Bonjour, Blogger! in May 2013 as a way to share her knowledge and experiences - if you ever have a question, get in touch!

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