Nike Gets Slapped By UK ASA


Jun 22nd

When is an Advert not an Ad, or more precisely when IS an Advert an Ad? According to the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), anytime you are promoting a company or its product or services it an Advert, and should be labelled as such.

Manchester United player Wayne Rooney and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere were Tweeting a Nike slogan, without making it clear that the Tweet was a Nike promotion.

Rooney Tweeted on the 1st Jan the following, “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount”

The UK ASA said the Tweets in question were not clearly “identifiable as Nike marketing communications.”

Wilshere Tweeted, “In 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country”, referring to his come back year after being injuryed for most of the 2011 season.

This Tweet is no long available as Whilshere shutdown his twitter account after being harassed by “fans” claiming he had tested positive for coke.

In their defence Nike claimed that the Tweets were identifiable as being an advert by the fact that they included the hash-tag “#makeitcount” and the Nike website. The UK ASA has offer guidance for future adverts and recommended any advert has the hash-tag “#ad”, to clearly define the Tweet as being an advert.

The ASA expects the adverts to be removed, not a problem for Whilshere, but Rooney will need to get on that, and Nike has been told not to run a marketing program in that format again. Although what would or could the UK ASA do about it, if for example a US Nike sports star was to run the same type of advert? Does that fall under UK jurisdiction?

Lesson learnt? Be transparent and let the Twitter users decide if they want to interact with the advert.

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