ASA makes clear that #ad tag has to be viewable in social media feeds
ASA Ruling on Primark Stores Ltd
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against an Instagram post for Primark by Gabby Allen, seen on 1 August 2021, which featured an image of Gabby Allen with the caption "Feeling fab but chilled Wearing these jeans and top from one and only @primark #iworkwithprimark".
The ASA found the ad was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and as such breached the CAP Code.
In particular, the ASA considered that the use of the word “work” in the tag #iworkwithprimark was ambiguous, and did not fully explain Gabby Allen relationship with Primark. The ASA considered that the label was long and unclear, and its content and meaning would not have been immediately obvious to consumers.
The ASA also considered that the label was insufficiently prominent to ensure that the post was obviously identifiable as an ad, since the label appeared at the end of the post caption, and would not have been visible when viewed in-feed – only becoming fully visible when it was viewed in its entirety once users had clicked on it.
This was important as Primark and Gabby Allen had updated the post to include the label “#ad” at the end. However, whilst the use of the #ad tag was compliant with the code, its positioning meant that “#ad” was still not clearly and prominently displayed.
The post therefore continued to breach the code.
This is an important decision as it makes clear that even having "#ad" in the body of your social media posts will not be enough to comply with the Code if it is not viewable without the need for any further action by anyone viewing the post in a newsfeed.