#Spon – what you need to know as a travel writer

#Spon – what you need to know as a travel writer

How will the new marketing regulations set by the Australian Association of National Advertisers affect you?

On 1 March 2017, a new provision was included in the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics, requiring social advertising and marketing material to be disclosed as such.

The new clause states:

2.7 Advertising or Marketing Communication must be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience.

The new code of practice defines an ‘influencer’ as individuals with significant number of audiences, journalists and bloggers as well as those engaged by, or on behalf of, brands for advertising and marketing communications purposes*.

This means travel writers should also be mindful of the new Code of Ethics, particularly when invited on famils, travel experiences or any rewards (including monetary payment, gifts and value in kind) given in return for agreed social content.

It should be noted the new guidelines only address content published on social media platforms – current practices and guidelines for editorial features across print, online or broadcast remain unaffected.

According to the new AANA guidelines, two key criteria need to be met in order for material to comply under the Code**:

  1. Does the marketer have a reasonable degree of control over the media?
  2. Does the material draw attention of the public in a manner calculated to promote a product or service?

However, when there is a commercial partnership with a brand, all social content should be clearly distinguishable as sponsored content. This can be achieved with the use of hashtags such as #sponsored, #spon, #ad or anything to ensure the copy clearly highlights the relationship between the ‘influencer’ and the brand.

The aim for the new Code of Ethics is to address authenticity and transparency in social media in accordance with Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), Testimonials must reflect genuine views, opinions and experiences – brand, agency and talent are liable***

In light of the new Code of Ethics, keep this in mind when working with brands:

  • If social content is part of the agreement, make sure deliverables for promoting the product or experience are in writing.
  • Marketers can share key messages, however all caption copy should be written by the ‘influencer’ and should comply with Section 18 of the ACL to reflect genuine views.

When in doubt, #spon. Disclose and label any posts relating to paid experiences or famils as this disclosure represents best practice.

For further information, read or download a copy of the AANA ‘Best Practice’ Guidelines from DVM Law*, AANA** and ACCC***.


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