Social media has provided marketers with exciting opportunities to interact with existing and new consumers and to create a network of brand champions. With that has come debate on the appropriateness of advertising messages through social media, the ability for young people to be impacted negatively, and the effectiveness of self-regulation in the social media space.
Lobby groups have zeroed in on social media, looking for evidence of failing of our self-regulatory system. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, for example, recently highlighted what it termed as the ‘extensive’ use of Facebook by alcohol brands. We have seen reports from Sydney and Otago Universities arguing that social media sites ‘contribute significantly to the marketing of junk foods to teenagers’. These raise questions that public health advocates feel have not been addressed by self-regulation.
In fact they have been addressed - on two levels. The ASA’s Code of Ethics sets the standard for marketing communications to be legal, decent, honest and truthful, prepared with a sense of obligation to the consumer and society. This applies to all media – traditional, new, emerging – whatever the category, communications via social media are covered. Underpinning this, the ASA’s Guidance Note on Social Media clearly lays out advertisers’ responsibilities, and all advertisers should be aware of these.
Elsewhere in this month’s Members Newsletter, we question whether your online ads get viewed. We discuss the recent RBA audience research cancellation and the issue of research bias and scientific integrity within public health advocacy and we also have content insights from the man behind the famed Evian campaign in our Video of the Month.
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