With an aim to ensure that individuals do not mislead their audiences when endorsing products or services, and that they follow the Consumer Protection Act and any associated rules or guidelines, a set of guidelines called “Endorsements Know-hows!” for celebrities, influencers, and virtual influencers on social media platforms has been released by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
It is essential for celebrities, influencers, and virtual influencers to adhere to these guidelines to maintain transparency and authenticity with their audience.
Individuals or groups who have access to an audience and the power to affect their audiences’ purchasing decisions or opinions about a product, service, brand, or experience, because of the influencer’s/celebrity’s authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience, must disclose.
The product and service must have been actually used or experienced by the endorser. Individuals must not endorse any product or service that they have not personally used or experienced or in which due diligence has not been done by them.
The guidelines state that endorsements must be made in simple, clear language, and terms such as “advertisement,” “sponsored,” “collaboration” or “paid promotion” can be used. For paid or barter brand endorsement, any of the following disclosures may be used: “advertisement,” “ad,” “sponsored,” “collaboration,” or “partnership.” However, the term must be indicated as hashtag or headline text.
The disclosure must be placed in the endorsement message in a manner that is clear, prominent, and extremely hard to miss. Disclosures should not be mixed with a group of hashtags or links. For endorsements in a picture, disclosures should be superimposed over the image enough for viewers to notice. For endorsements in a video or a live stream, disclosures should be made in both audio and video format and displayed continuously and prominently during the entire stream.
The celebrities and influencers should always review and satisfy themselves that the advertiser is able to substantiate the claims made in the advertisement.