Social Media or Advertising?

On March 1, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) changed its Advertiser Code of Ethics. The new rules require social influencers to be more transparent about rewards they receive in exchange for posts (endorsements by another name). Ads must now be ‘clearly distinguishable’ from surrounding content and “not camouflage the fact that [they are] advertising”.

Isn’t this already the case, you ask? Well, yes. Despite the buzz surrounding them, the truth is the new guidelines just reflect the law as it exists in Australia already. And common sense said that given these rules applied to other forms of media, digital channels would eventually formally come under the same banner.

My read on this is more about how the media landscape is changing and how we as marketers need to adapt. 15 years ago, bloggers and social media pundits weren’t part of the PR professional’s target audience. Now, if you want to reach influencers within your industry, even in the B2B circles I move in, they are a key demographic. In which case you need to understand the laws governing their use to avoid becoming the brand who got a Celebrity Chef to lie about visiting your Island.

For those interested in the new guidelines, Mumbrella has useful articles. Check one of them out here.