Molly-Mae's Prettylittlething Instagram advert banned by ASA
An Instagram story from influencer Molly-Mae Hague’s account, seen on 31 October 2021, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The story, which has been ruled as an advert, did not make clear its commercial intent.
The social media post featured a caption about a dress sold by Prettylittlething, reading “You can actually shop it now on PLT – Couldn’t not make it available for you guys too”.
Prettylittlething confirmed to the ASA that Molly-Mae Hague was Creative Director at Prettylittlething and that there was a contractual agreement between them for the publication of the story. The company said the contractual agreement expressly stated the requirement to comply with applicable laws and regulations relating to marketing and advertising, which included for the avoidance of doubt using the #ad disclosure.
The company said it understood that "the disclosure had been omitted by mistake and had reminded Molly-Mae Hague of the requirements of the CAP Code to prevent any similar mistakes in future". Hague’s representative also confirmed the #ad disclosure had been left off by mistake.
The CAP Code states that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such, and they must make clear their commercial intent if that was not obvious from the context.
The ASA first assessed whether or not the post was a marketing communication and if it fell within the remit of the CAP Code. It "considered that Prettylittlething and Molly-Mae Hague were therefore jointly responsible for ensuring marketing activity conducted on Molly-Mae Hague’s account".
It also considered whether the post was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and made clear its commercial intent. It noted that "the story had appeared in Molly-Mae Hague’s own account and did not contain any indication that it was a marketing communication".
The ASA concluded that it "welcomed the assurances from both Prettylittlething and Molly-Mae Hague that similar posts would include a label" in the future. The advert must not appear again in the form complained of.