#MARKADVERTISING, NEW RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF UOKiK
Influencers are online creators who, due to the content they publish, can have a real impact on their followers. Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are the areas of their activity. Along with the growing interest in influencer characters, their advertising opportunities increased. Yes, social media channels are very often used to publish sponsored content. How to distinguish advertising from neutral influencer opinion? UOKiK is here to help.
A few days ago, on the Office’s website (https://uokik.gov.pl/influencer_marketing.php#faq4861), recommendations of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection regarding the marking of advertising content by influencers in social media were published. Let’s take a look at them.
1. LEGAL BASIS
Pursuant to Art. 24 of the Act on competition and consumer protection, it is prohibited to use practices that violate collective consumer interests, such as:
- breach of the obligation to provide consumers with reliable, truthful and complete information;
- unfair market practices or acts of unfair competition.
As indicated in art. 6 and 7 of the Act on Counteracting Unfair Market Practices, unfair market practices include, inter alia:
- non-disclosure of the commercial purpose of the practice, if it is not clear from the circumstances and if it causes or may cause the average consumer to take a contractual decision that he would not have taken otherwise;
- surreptitious advertising, which consists in using journalistic content in the mass media to promote a product in a situation where the entrepreneur has paid for this promotion, and it does not clearly result from the content or from images or sounds easily recognizable by the consumer;
- Claiming or giving the impression that the seller is not acting for a purpose related to his business or professional activity.
This means that influencers who do not mean advertising cooperation or self-promotion violate the rights of their consumers, thus exposing themselves to legal consequences,
2. WHAT COOPERATION SHOULD BE MEANED?
In its recommendations, UOKiK distinguished several types of cooperation, taking into account the form of remuneration, the advertiser’s influence on the content of the publication and the scope of the advertisement, indicating the appropriate method of marking for each. Here are the markings recommended by the Office:
“Advertising of the XYZ brand”, “Paid cooperation with the XYZ brand”, Gift from the XYZ brand “,” Invitation to the event from the XYZ brand “and hashtags extremely popular in social media:
# advertising # advertising material # sponsored relationship # paid for cooperation # gift
Importantly, there is also a provision on advertising products or services of your own brand. There is no doubt that self-promotion is a form of advertising, because its purpose is to increase the sale of the goods or services offered, therefore, in this case, the influencer is recommended to use analogous labeling methods:
“Material containing self-promotion”, “Private label advertising” or #autorek-advertising # own brand #autopromotja.
3. INADEQUATE PRACTICES BY INFLUENCERS
Although it is the responsibility of influencers to inform recipients that the published material contains paid advertising, self-advertisement or other types of cooperation, they seem to look for ways to avoid it.
Placing the marking at the very bottom of the description, selecting the colour of the marking so that it blends into the background, reducing the font of the text, using English equivalents and abbreviations is an extremely common practice. And all this so that the average observer does not realize that the publication was created in connection with paid cooperation. Such a pity.
No one is surprised anymore by influencers working with brands or advertising their products. We all know well that social media is only a part of reality, created by the author, so we like to follow people who also show us real life and, as far as possible on social media, are open and honest with their followers. As a result, the marking of the advertisement will be a signal to the recipient that the influencer complies with the law and respects them as consumers.
+48 (58) 716 71 68