Should Snoop Dogg have declared his tease ad?

#127

Issue #127 | Your reading time this week is 7 mins. 45 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing.

Here’s just some of what I’ve been thinking about this week:

  • Should Snoop Dogg have declared his tease ad?

  • New report says there are 27m Creators in the US

  • FTC writes warning letters to influencers

  • Why the compliance crusader may be on the wrong side of the CAP code

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Why the compliance crusader, may be breaking the CAP code

The Alice Bull saga breathlessly pants on. What saga? See Creator Briefing #125 for background on Bull’s beef with Grace Beverley. Late Sunday evening The Times published a story: Meet the TikTok vigilante trying to enforce advertising rules.

The piece is upbeat about Bull’s “naming and shaming” influencers and explains how the compliance crusader is “determined to shine a light on practices in an industry that she still considers a ‘Wild West.’”

A recent interview with Corq notes that "since the controversy, Bull has been deluged with messages and comments from marketeers and business owners asking questions and seeking clarification".

But, do Bull’s own TikToks fall on the right side of the CAP code? Do they even need to fall within the code? 

According to her website Bull offers brands and agencies legal and compliance advice. So, when calling out influencers for failing to disclose the promotion of their own brands I’d have thought that Bull should also be declaring her content as a promotion of her own services, too.

The ASA website explains “marketers should be aware that any content that bears a relationship to the products or services they offer has the potential to be considered directly connected and therefore within the ASA’s remit.”

For sure, talking about related topics doesn’t automatically turn all of her content into ads for her services but individual posts could be said to be marketing communications if they are ‘directly connected’ with the supply of her services.

Anyhoo, I don’t profess to be an expert in this field. This is only my interpretation of guidelines. I have no specialised training in this area. And this raises another issue around positioning and provision of services. 

I asked Rupa Shah, Director at Hashtag Ad Consulting, a firm that provides advertising regulation guidance, for her view on Bull’s posts. Shah says that “it’s fine to call out influencers in editorial content – to highlight errors and to help others learn”. 

However, Shah warned that Bull’s posts may not always be considered editorial, “because if the ASA considered her intention was to promote her business (which she links to in her TikTok profile) then her posts about influencer compliance are unlikely to satisfy the test for clear disclosure of commercial intent.”

In short, says Shah, “my advice to any creator that posts content relating to their own products or services, is to avoid implying that they are just another consumer and to make absolutely clear any commercial intent. I would recommend a clear and upfront disclosure label such as #AD, in accordance with CAP Code rules 2.1 and 2.3 (recognition of marketing communications)”.

DECLARATION: I am the director general of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body which is a member of the Committee of Advertising Practices (“CAP”). CAP is responsible for writing and updating the rules on advertising in the UK via the CAP (Non-broadcast Advertising) Code. 

CAP is the sister organisation of the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") - the UK’s independent advertising regulator that administers the CAP Code to keep ads legal, decent, honest and truthful. 

Rupa Shah provides IMTB members with influencer marketing compliance advice under our REASSURE offering. 

#AD SUMO are Influencer Marketing and Talent Management recruiters. If you work within the Creator Economy and would like to expand your team, or if you’re seeking a new opportunity, we would love to hear from you. Visit: www.sumo.london

New report: 27m creators in US

Trade press, consulting firms, and academia have offered creator economy stats covering size, scope and growth. All provide positive directional value. But, argues Ed Keller, CEO, The Keller Advisory Group they all contain a flaw in their sampling. 

Keller’s new study: “Creators Uncovered: Insights from a Nationally Representative Study of US Creators” purports to be the first nationally representative study of Creators in the US. The results provide a solid and scientific grounding for better understanding the US Creator universe.

Number of creators in US

  • 27m paid Creators in the US (14% of all 16-54s)

    • 11.6m full-time Creators

    • 8.5m part-time Creators 

    • 6.5m Creators who consider it a hobby

How much creators earn

  • More than half of Creators make less than $10k annually; 1/3 makes $1-2k

  • Meanwhile, the livelihood of the 11.6m full-time creators is a robust $179k/year affirming the ability of Creators to make a good living once they can devote full-time to being a Creator

A look to the future

  • Creators are overwhelmingly optimistic about their future as a paid Creator (62% are very optimistic, 34% are somewhat) 

  • Consistent with other findings in this survey, they are most excited about growing and connecting with fans; money is secondary

  • Despite their generally optimistic outlook, 35% of Creators (45% among full timers) report burnout due to the demands of creating content; 29% find it stressful keeping up with demands to publish regularly

  • 73% of Creators post or publish to platforms at least once a day (with 22% posting x4 per day).

CREATORS DEFINED: Creators are defined as those who consider themselves to be a Creator or influencer AND received income in the past year for their work as a Creator, whether in the form of cash or goods/services.

My thanks to Mark Schaefer for introducing me to Ed Keller and this research. 

FTC warns influencers

The Federal Trade Commission has issued warning letters to two trade associations and 12 registered dieticians and other online health influencers warning them about the lack of adequate disclosures in their Instagram and TikTok posts promoting the safety of the artificial sweetener aspartame or the consumption of sugar-containing products.

In Creator Briefing #118 we covered the pro aspartame influencer marketing campaign and its backlash. I wrote an article about it, too. 

FTC’s letters express concerns that the two organisations may have violated the FTC Act by failing to adequately disclose that the influencers were apparently hired to promote the safety of aspartame or the consumption of sugar-containing products, respectively. 

The warning letters follow FTC’s recent revision of the Commission’s Guides for Endorsements and Testimonials, and is part of the agency’s continued monitoring of influencer marketing.

Should Snoop Dogg have declared his tease ad?

This week Snoop Dogg pulled off the mother of all tease campaigns when he announced he had “decided to give up smoke” only to follow up days later with his brand sponsorship of a smoke-less fire pit. Genius celebrity tie-in and creative by Martin Agency. Great timing, too, just before s’more season kicks in with Thanksgiving.

But should Snoop Dogg have declared the tease as an ad asked Rupa Shah, director of Hashtag Ad Consulting, a firm that provides advertising regulation guidance.

A comment in the thread likened Snoop’s content to a tease campaign for Snickers run on Twitter more than a decade ago. 

Snickers was investigated in the UK by the ASA back in 2012 following two complaints. Here the ad regulator said that each tweet in the ad campaign series should have been declared as an ad. 

HOWEVER, as the final ‘reveal’ tweet was clearly marked as an ad the ASA concluded: "We considered the combination of those elements [in the final tweet] was sufficient to make clear the tweets were advertising and that consumers would then understand each series of tweets was a marketing communication.”

Prominent law firm Osborne Clarke commented at the time that the ASA’s verdict was “confusing”. 

Billion Dollar Boy launches innovation unit

Billion Dollar Boy has launched an innovation unit. Starting with generative AI the team will explore the impact of emerging technologies shaping the creator economy. 

Called Muse, the unit was formed following research by the agency which revealed a strong preference for AI-designed content, with 60% favouring it for its distinctiveness. Additionally, 81% of creators report better audience engagement with such content.

 Introducing Lantern: Protecting Children Online

Meta announced its work with the Tech Coalition’s Lantern Program - the initiative which enables tech companies to share signals on accounts and behaviours that violate child safety policies.

YouTubers need to label AI content

YouTubers will soon need to disclose when they’ve uploaded “altered or synthetic content that is realistic, including using AI tools”.

The video-sharing platform will also update its  privacy request process to make it possible for viewers to request removal of deepfakes.

YouTube is also to deploy AI technology to power content moderation.

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