Sladen Snippet - New rules for clearly distinguishable advertising

In the digital age, brands are increasingly making use of innovative marketing and advertising such as native or integrated advertising, social media accounts, bloggers and Instagram influencers. These strategies have been shown to increase audience engagement and brand awareness, and are an effective use of a marketing budget. It’s been reported that influencers with between 50,000 to 500,000 followers can charge on average $2,500 for a social media post, whereas someone with a following in the millions such as Kim Kardashian commands on average $75,000 per post (Gizmodo).

Concerns have been consistently raised that this type of advertising can be deceptive, with many consumers unable to tell whether something is actually an ad.

To address these concerns, from 1 March 2017 a new standard will be included in the Code of Ethics administered by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA). This is intended to ensure that marketing and advertising is distinguishable as such to its audience.

What does the standard cover?

The Standard is platform neutral and will apply to all advertising and marketing where:

  • the advertiser has a reasonable degree of control over the advertising; and
  • the material draws the attention of the public in a manner calculated to promote a product, service or organisation.

Importantly, the Standard covers scenarios where there is payment for the ad as well as where alternative compensation methods have been used. Typically, this will be compensation such as providing free products or ‘gifting’ to an influencer in exchange for content.

How can businesses comply?

Businesses should:

  • Ensure all engagement of influencers and use of social media is centrally controlled
  • require approval of all potential posts by influencers
  • ensure that all posts are clearly distinguishable as advertising
  • require influencers to clearly disclose their relationship with the business, and suggest options for wording the disclaimer, which may be as simple as #ad
  • ensure that all information given to influencers is accurate and up to date
  • monitor postings on the businesses’ social media pages and remove any comments which are misleading or deceptive

The ANA has released guidelines for best practice which can be found here: Link 

The Intellectual Property team at Sladen Legal can advise on and review arrangements with influencers, advertising campaigns and social media presence to ensure businesses are complying with the new standard.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact

Gizelle Manoli
Senior Associate
Sladen Legal
T +61 3 9611 0174| M +61432 356 899
Level 5, 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3008, Victoria, Australia  
E: gmanoli@sladen.com.au