Technological advancement and development have brought changes in the economic, political, and social spheres. Consequently, influencers have turned to the market to promote and advertise their goods, products, and services through social media. Digital media has the virtual influencer, a fictional character created to perform similar roles to those of an influencer. Marketing and advertisement of products and services require good partnerships and agreements between the brands and the bloggers. Material connection and advertisement in digital media differ on a case-to-case basis. It includes the rewards accorded to the influencer by the brand or advertiser for the services rendered.
This requirement stipulates that any influencer must include a disclosure clause in all material times when conducting promotions, including a disclosure clause that the activity conducted is an advertisement. The clause must consist of a clear and distinct label accompanying the ad.
Guidelines on disclosure
Disclosure in digital marketing and advertisement is only needed if there is an already established material connection between the advertiser and the influencer. Secondly, in instances where the evaluation originated from the influencer, the advertisement must be accompanied by disclosure as long as there is an established connection between the influencer/blogger and the advertiser.
The disclosure must be clear and strategically placed to ensure that the consumer sees the advertisement. Instagram and Snapchat are examples of ads that heavily rely on pictures for ads. Therefore, the influencer must ensure that the label is superimposed over the picture or the video to capture the viewer’s attention. The disclosure label in videos going for a maximum of 15 seconds or lesser should last a minimum of 3 seconds. For videos that last between a minimum of 15 seconds and a maximum of 2 minutes, the disclosure should stay for a third of the video. Lastly, the Advertising Standards Council of India stipulates that the disclosure for videos going for a minimum duration of 2 minutes should last the entire period of the video.
Secondly, in live stream coverage, the disclosure of the advertised products or services should be made at the beginning and the end of the broadcast. Thirdly, the Advertising Standards Council of India indicates that the disclosure in audio media should be conducted at the front and a lot of the coverage. Additionally, the Council insists that the exposure should also be indicated and expressly made before and immediately after a break.
Fourthly, The English language is the most preferred language for disclosures in digital marketing and advertisements. Virtual influencers must clearly state that they are not human beings before the disclosure. The influencer must adhere to the stipulations laid down by the Advertising Standards Council of Indian. The advertiser must correct or order the influencer to pull down a post that is not in line with the stipulation of the Indian Advertisement Council.
The Advertising Standards Council expressly notes that disclosures should be made in a manner that is not so hard to miss. Additionally, how they are placed should be clear and easily identifiable by the consumer. Secondly, disclosures should not block or hidden in a group of hashtags and links, but rather, they should be capable of standing their ground for easy identification.
This is the second guideline listed by the Council. Under this requirement, the influencer has a duty and an obligation to exercise due diligence concerning the advertiser. The influencer should ensure that before making any advertisement, the advertiser can provide the goods and services advertised.
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