The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled a post from The Apprentice star in December “was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication”.
Quoting a tweet from Stylsmile UK, a teeth whitening brand for which he owns a 50% share, Lord Sugar wrote: “If you know someone who’s longing for whiter teeth, this is the perfect gift for them.”
The businessman and Stylsmile responded to the complaint by saying the firm was run by a previous winner of the BBC show and Lord Sugar, something they said was a “well-known fact” due to the partnership being publicised on the TV series.
They also told the ASA that Lord Sugar was known to post about his businesses on social media “on a daily basis” and that the tweet “was not a covert promotion”.
However, in a ruling published earlier today, the advertising watchdog said that while Lord Sugar was well-known as an investor, “it was not immediately clear to all consumers” from the tweet that he had a commercial interest in Stylsmile UK.
“We therefore concluded that the commercial intent behind the tweet was not made clear upfront and it was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication,” they said.
The regulator added that the ad breached rules around the “recognition of marketing communications” under the code from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), and said the advert must not appear again “in the form complained of”.
“We told Stylideas Ltd t/a Stylsmile UK and Lord Sugar to ensure that they made clear the commercial intent of their posts in future, for example by including a clear and prominent identifier on their social media posts such as #ad,” they concluded.
The decision by the ASA was one of eight rulings published on their website this morning, with the watchdog also banning adverts for Card Factory posted by TV personality Stacey Solomon.
The two posts, shared on her Instagram Stories in November, contained paid-for links to Card Factory’s website, with the word ‘AD’ appearing in white text on a “slightly off-white” background.
In their ruling on the complaint, the ASA said they considered the presentation of the ad labels meant they were “unclear and lacking in prominence, since they blended in with the background and were obscured as a result”.
“We considered the labels would have been significantly more prominent if they had been written in a colour, or had been placed inside a box, that contrasted with the background.
“In the absence of clear and prominent identifiers, we concluded the story posts were not obviously identifiable as marketing communications and did not make clear their commercial intent in breach of the Code,” they said.
More information on the rulings can be found on the ASA’s website.
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