Advertisers must ensure ‘influencers’ play by the rules, watchdog says

Brands have ‘primary responsibility’ for disclosure, advertising standards body says

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has reminded advertisers that the onus is on them to ensure that the "influencers" they pay to market their brands are abiding by the authority's code of practice.

The ASAI said all parties had “a duty of care” to make it clear when communications – typically social media posts – by celebrities, bloggers and influencers amounted to paid marketing.

But it stressed that the advertiser has a special responsibility to make sure this is happening.

"To avoid any confusion within the advertising industry, the ASAI is making it clear that the primary responsibility for disclosure of marketing communications rests with the advertiser," said chief executive Orla Twomey.


The authority, which recently issued guidance on the “recognisability” of marketing communications in light of the rise of so-called influencer marketing, has recommended the use of the hashtags “#ad” or “#sp” whenever individuals are paid directly to promote a product.

Disclaimers should be visible for consumers to see before they interact with or read the material, the ASAI said.

Online influencers were already required to adhere to the ASAI’s code of practice. The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of this code.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics