Dublin-based beauty blogger Rosie Connolly has recently become the first online ‘influencer’ to have a complaint against her upheld by the ASAI. The advertisement to which the complaint related (the Advertisement) was featured on the official Facebook and Instagram profiles of both Rosie Connolly and Rimmel. It promoted Rimmel’s new ‘Lasting Finish Breathable’ 25 hour foundation and concealer products and featured an image of the blogger’s face after she had applied the products. The complainant considered the Advertisement to be misleading. She alleged that the image had been filtered and photo-shopped to such an extent that it might lead consumers to believe that the same desirable outcome could be achieved simply by using Rimmel products.
Rosie Connolly responded by saying that the complaint should be directed to Rimmel as the image had been approved by them. Rimmel defended the post by saying that the intention behind it was not to mislead consumers, however, acknowledged that the post had indeed been filtered using an in-built camera feature. Rimmel has now undertaken that future uses of such post-production techniques will be communicated to consumers through visible disclaimers.
The Advertisement was removed shortly after the complaint was made to the ASAI.
While the ASAI welcomed the decision by Rimmel to remove the Advertisement, it nonetheless upheld the complaint against both Rimmel and Rosie Connolly finding the post to be “likely to mislead” and “in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code”. The ASAI further emphasised that all those involved in the production of marketing communications should exercise care (even in circumstances where disclaimers are used) that the application of pre- and post-production techniques do not mislead consumers as to the attributes of the product being advertised.
This decision, the first of its kind, will have far-reaching implications. The influencer market has increased rapidly over the past number of years and has become critical to manufacturers in gaining widespread brand and product recognition. Following this decision brands should take note that advertisements published on the profiles of influencers will be held to the same standards as those published on more traditional forms of media.
Contributed by: Anna Ní Uiginn