A watchdog has warned Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe about posting adverts on Instagram after she failed to make clear to followers that she had been paid to promote a hair-styling device.
Metcalfe’s Instagram page carried a story on April 28 featuring an image of her holding the HairCybele device and text stating: “Me again! Use code JEN70 for 70% off! @HAIRCYBELE Swipe up to view website.”
A reader complained that the post was not obviously identifiable as an ad.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Metcalfe did not respond to its enquiries.
HairCybele said they entered into a one-off agreement with Metcalfe and gave her instructions on what she should say and how to demonstrate use of the hair curler and the results of using it, for which she was paid a fee.
The brand confirmed the post was an ad but said they did not give instructions regarding labelling as influencers usually added labels themselves when they were posting.
The ASA said it was concerned by Metcalfe’s lack of response and “apparent disregard for the Code”.
It ruled that she broke advertising rules, adding: “We reminded her of her responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told her to do so in future.”
“We assessed the post as it would have appeared in-feed on Instagram and considered that there was nothing in its content, such as “#ad” placed upfront, that made clear to those viewing it that it was an ad,” the watchdog said.
“We therefore concluded that the post was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and as such breached the Code.”
The ASA added: “We told HairCybele and Jennifer Metcalfe to ensure that in future their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, for example, by including a clear and prominent identifier such as ‘#ad’.”