Legal development

Ad Standards on the hunt for influencers

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    What you need to know

    • A post by the inaugural The Bachelor Australia winner and influencer Anna Heinrich has become the first to have breached new AANA Code of Ethics that came into effect on 1 February 2021.

    • Heinrich's Instagram post was found to have breached new AANA Code of Ethics section 2.7 for not adequately distinguishing paid-for marketing content.

    • Merely tagging the brand in sponsored content is insufficient to clearly show an influencer has a marketing arrangement with a brand.

    What you need to do

    • Ensure that branded content includes clear labels such as #ad, "advert", "advertising", "branded content", "paid partnership", or "paid promotion".

    • Do not use labels such as #sp, "spon", "gifted", "affiliate", "collab", "thanks to…", or merely mention the brand name as these may not be sufficient to clearly distinguish the post as advertising.


    In October 2020, we reported that the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) had revised their Code of Ethics to come into effect on 1 February 2021. These revisions included new standards for influencers to clearly distinguish advertising in social media posts.

    Anna Heinrich's Instagram post

    On 11 February 2021, social media influencer Anna Heinrich posted an image on Instagram wearing a green dress with the text 'Turning my apartment into a Runway 💚 Then back to my PJs I go! Wearing: @runawaythelabel’.'

    Did the post constitute advertising or marketing communication?

    The Ad Standards Community Panel (Panel) determined that:

    • the clear display of the dress in the image; and

    • the use of the brand name 'Runaway The Label'

    amounted to "material which would draw the attention of the public in a manner designed to promote the brand".

    Was the advertising clearly distinguishable?

    The Panel held that the wording of the post and absence of hashtags to clearly demonstrate advertising material meant that it did not matter if some of Heinrich's followers were able to identify that the post was advertising material.

    The Panel considered that "tagging the brand on its own was not sufficient to clearly and obviously show that there was an arrangement between the brand and influencer”.


    Runaway the Label did not respond to the complaint but the post by Heinrich has now been updated and tagged in Instagram as a 'Paid partnership with runaway the label'.


    Authors: Helen Wei, Graduate and Lisa Ritson, Partner



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    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


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