UK’s online ad crackdown

115 | New rules to crack down on illegal ads, influencer scams and protect children online

Issue #115 | Your reading time this week is 5 mins.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing.

Here’s just some of what we’re looking at this week:

  • Cracking down on online ads unsuitable for kids

  • Why protecting viewers from digitally-altered body images is not straightforward

  • Getting our news from TikTok

  • TikTok’s flywheel spinning into fast fashion

  • Celebrating best-in-class campaigns at the Influencer Marketing Awards

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Twitter > X

So, Twitter is now X. But, in yet another plot twist that has so far included cage-fighting call-outs, cloned products and threats of legal action, it appears “Instagram and FB owner Meta holds the trademark for "X" as it relates to "online social networking services... social networking services in the fields of entertainment, gaming and application development..."” so says Alex Weprin - a journalist at the Hollywood Reporter - via a Tweet (which presumably is an X or somesuch).

But, as Mark Zuckerberg claims Threads DAU to be in the “10s of millions”, perhaps Elon Musk’s current micro-success plan is that every time we talk about his platform it’s an occasion we’re not talking about Zuckerberg’s.

Meanwhile, TikTok just introduced text-only posts. What a time to be alive!

Influence is King

This newsletter is supported by Fourth Floor – a digital marketing agency that fully understands the power of influence. Fourth Floor is an insight-led creative, social and influencer agency that enables games businesses to engage audiences, build emotional connections and get results. They build bespoke campaigns by combining any number of their services, which include advocacy, production, commerce and events. Find out how they can help your business at 

Where Gen Z gets its news

In just four words Dani Carbonari managed to throw shade on both the creative economy and journalism. The influencer and confidence activist declared “I’m an investigative journalist” during her ill-fated Shein promo video last month.

Sadly her words are important. The News Consumption in the UK 2022/23 report from Ofcom, UK's communications regulator, provides a powerful reveal of how people in the UK access news.

We learn that TikTok is the second highest reach channel for 12-15-year-olds to access news reaching 28% of the age group. YouTube came third with (25%) and Instagram, fourth (25%). The BBC retains the highest reach of any news organisation with its content reaching 39% of this age group.

Older teens and young adults aged 16-24 are much more likely to consume news online than adults generally (83% vs 68%). And usually, it’s via social media on their mobile phones (63% vs 39%).

People in this age group are also much less likely than the average adult to access news content from traditional media sources, like TV (47% vs 70%), radio (25% vs 40%) and print newspapers (16% vs 26%).

The study also finds that 16-24s reach online news in a different way to older generations. They’re much less likely than other adults to navigate straight to traditional news websites (9% vs 26%) and more commonly go via social media (37% vs 24%). This behaviour suggests youngsters have less of a direct connection with established news brands.

Social media platforms dominate the top five most popular news sources among 16-24s. Instagram (44%) is the most-used single news source, followed by Facebook 33%, Twitter 31%, and TikTok, 29%. Coming in joint second, BBC One (33%) is the only traditional media source to feature in their top five.

The skill of engaging storytelling binds the influencer to the journalist. But, journalism is storytelling with a purpose accomplished through assembling and verifying facts to produce a “functional truth.”

UK’s online ad crackdown

In March 2022 the UK Government launched a consultation on the regulatory framework for online advertising to determine what the future governance of this industry should look like. The consultation was termed the Online Advertising Programme (“OAP”).

This week the Government published its response to the OAP consultation announcing a targeted programme, focused on:

  • tackling illegal advertising

  • increasing protections for children and young people under 18 against adverts for products and services that are illegal to be sold to them

Protecting children

To protect children and young people online, legislation will place a duty on platforms, intermediaries and publishers (PIPs) to put in place proportionate systems and processes to prevent under-18s from seeing adverts for products and services that are illegal to be sold to them.

The Government expects that fulfilling this duty will involve proactive measures that detect and mitigate problem adverts quickly and efficiently and measures concerning the sharing of information with regulators to support efficient and effective regulation.

Hopefully, other media channels will keep up with protecting children, too. A recent report 100 Children Report from ad regulator (ASA) “challenged anecdotal views that children are being “bombarded” with age-restricted ads online. It noted, “on average, each child on [its] panel (aged 11-17) was served 3.7 online ads for alcohol and gambling over the monitored week, compared to 3.0 TV ads (the average weekly exposure for children aged 4-15) for the same products.” [Summary 1.2]

DECLARATION: Members of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body attended a roundtable discussion with DCMS representatives last year to discuss the OAP. The IMTB later submitted a formal response to the consultation. I am the IMTB’s director-general.

Why protecting viewers from digitally-altered body images is not straightforward

Left unchecked idealized, digitally-altered body images can lead some viewers to suffer self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and lack of self-confidence.

The topic is complex, nuanced and emotionally highly charged.

Protecting people from digitally altered image harms demands collaborative thinking and precision in execution. Failure risks creating unintended consequences.

The Drum asked me to write an opinion piece on behalf of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body. My article looks at the issues and addresses some of the well-meaning but potentially limited options being put forward to protect consumers.

TikTok’s flywheel spinning into fast fashion

With a billion MAU TikTok has built the audience. Now it’s building the flywheel. The Chinese-owned app is launching an e-commerce business in the US to sell China-made goods to US consumers.

The app’s Amazon-ification seems bullish coming just months after CEO Shou Zi Chew was summoned to Washington DC to give testimony before Congress. But TikTok is eager to play ‘catch up’ with Chinese rivals Temu and Shein both of whom have successfully launched in the US in recent years.

The short-form video app seems to have learned lessons from its premature launch of TikTok Live into the UK market. TikTok is opting for a “full-service model,” according to the Wall Street Journal. It will pay Chinese suppliers only after finding US buyers. Inventory will be kept to a minimum through an agreement to return unpopular items. The company will store and ship items. It will also handle marketing, transactions, logistics and after-sale services.

Ad regulator launches transparency tool for influencer marketing across Europe

EASA, the European Advertising Standards Alliance - the umbrella organisation for Europe’s national ad regulators - has launched a new tool.

Designed to keep influencer marketing content compliant DiscloseMe provides users with information on recommended transparency disclosures in different European countries.

The tool is aimed at assisting influencers, content creators, and marketers in meeting requirements when sharing sponsored content, affiliate links, or engaging in brand partnerships.

Celebrating best-in-class campaigns at the Influencer Marketing Awards

The Global Influencer Marketing Awards were held in London this week. The awards featured entries from around the world in a million categories (actually it only felt like a million - I think there were actually 36).

It was a great opportunity to celebrate best-in-class influencer campaigns and to meet colleagues and peers IRL. Check out the category award winners.

And thanks to event owner, Matthew Woods for the after-party to the after party.

Brand strategist seeks new gig via rap CV

Brand Creative Strategist, Matt Box, just got let go from his job. Rather than resorting to producing a Word CV Box created a 2-minute rap CV and uploaded it to YouTube.

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