Anyone who contracts an influencer will of course ensure that the influencer has to comply with all advertising rules: Mentioning #ad and so on. But that turns out not to be enough!

Attention, advertisers! That wonderful contract with all the rules an influencer has to abide by is of course fine and very sensible. It – should - state, among other things, that in every social media post, the influencer must mention the fact that he or she is getting paid or is receiving free products. This is usually done by using the hashtag: "#ad". But it may also be told in the video: "I received [this product] from [name advertiser]". 

As an advertiser, do you get off scot-free if the influencer does not follow through despite this contract? No! As an advertiser, you have your own independent duty to check whether the influencer is actually complying with the rules of the Advertising Code for Social Media (RSM).

This is what the Advertising Code Committee ruled this summer. It was about an influencer who posted a video on TikTok. He is happily showing off an energy drink from Bang Energy. Meanwhile, he talks about whether or not pineapple should be on a pizza. The ACC considers the statement at the bottom of the video not clear enough (it said: "@bangenergy #BangEnergy"). Thus, this is a violation of the Advertising Code for Social Media 2019. The influencer was held accountable for this.

Bang Energy hoped to get away with the violation; after all, the contract with the influencer included an obligation to comply with the Advertising Code for Social Media. But this is not the case! The Advertising Code for Social Media requires the advertiser to make an active effort to ensure that the influencer complies with the rules. A contract is not enough. The advertiser must take action and check for himself whether the influencer is being clear.