This week Nike notched up another media first… this time it’s not one they were looking for.
In January Nike got Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere tweet a message to their followers using the campaign hashtag #makeitcount.
What they failed to do was to ad a #ad (or similar context within the tweet), to openly declare it was promoted marketing activity. As a consequence Nike have become the first UK brand to have their twitter campaign banned by the ASA.
In one sense, this may be deemed quite harsh… Rooney and Wilshere have very high profile associations with Nike and any “followers” would realistically know about the association, plus of course, they tweeted a Nike URL. The ASA however held that tweets did not actively state they were campaign promotions and therefore have fallen short of the standards set.
This may seem trivial but is rooted in an important point.
We, as marketers need to ensure consumers are able to distinguish when products are being promoted as opposed to being genuinely talked about or consumed. The distinction may seem minor, but it is one based on integrity, and in an increasingly digital and social world it is vital that our brands are true to the values they claim to profess.
It wasn’t that long ago that we saw Snickers involved in a similar ASA evaluation after Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand tweeted out of character, then revealed the marketing campaign using the hashtag #spon.
Although #spon really wasn’t consumer friendly, the ASA believed that Snickers had, at least tried, and were let off with a slapped wrist.
All of which goes to show that the more we look into social channels to underpin marketing campaigns we must remember that consumers need to have advertising on Twitter made very clear to them…
…yes they might hazard a guess that #spon stands for sponsorship, but how many people would ever really take the time to join the dots? And what is the potential damage to a brand found to be misleading its consumers?
This is another example of how as an industry we need to step back and think from a consumer’s point of view more, and create activity for them, not us.
#Ad is hardly a massive ask to be added onto a promoted tweet… after all you still have 137 characters left!