A number of celebrities have found themselves in hot water this week. Cher Llyod, Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price are only three well known personalities currently being investigated by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for posting images of themselves holding Snickers bars. The twitPics coincide with an advertising campaign led by parent company Mars.
The celebrities are just the latest in a series of stars to use the website to lavish praise on products.
Celebrity Twitter endorsements can provide an advertising windfall for companies. In the U.S., stars tout goods and services far more openly. A Tweet from Khloe Kardashian reputedly costs around $8,000.
Katie Price has over 1.5million followers on the site and Rio Ferdinand has more than 1.9million – but SnickersUK have just 825.
Under 2008 consumer protection regulations, the Office of Fair Trading can seek a court order that could lead to a criminal prosecution and an unlimited fine if celebrities are paid to promote products without it being clear to an audience that it is an advert.
In the case of Snickers, the teaser tweets posted alongside the images referred to the economy and knitting rather than mentioning the stars associations with Snickers.
A spokesman for the ASA said: ‘We are investigating two points – whether it should have been stated in the ‘teaser’ tweets that they were marketing communications and whether the hashtag ‘£spon’ in the final ‘reveal’ tweet made it clear enough that that tweet was a marketing communication’.
This is definitely one case to keep an eye on for any Irish and UK PR people…
Love Niamh x