ITV and ASA offer Love Island contestants advice on social media ads

Broadcaster has partnered ad watchdog to clarify advertising rules surrounding social posts.

Love Island contestants: advertising guidelines
Love Island contestants: advertising guidelines

ITV and the Advertising Standards Authority are providing contestants of ITV show Love Island with advice and information on how to make followers on social media aware when posts are ads.

Previous contestants have been recruited by brands to post about their products on Instagram or to become brand ambassadors.

The ASA has created the "Love Island social media checklist", a guide for contestants on advertising rules once they leave the villa. 

It covers topics such as authenticity and brand promotion, explaining how contestants need to make it clear that they are advertising a product or that they are being paid for a post, and that gifts and discount codes are also ads and need to be clearly labelled as such.

For those using hashtags, the ASA checklist advises that these need to be clearly visible and upfront. Both the ASA and the Competition & Markets Authority recommend upfront disclosures such as #ad.

The guidelines aim to ensure the relevant parties know and understand how and when the advertising rules apply to them so that the public are not being misled. The rules apply equally online and to social media, including paid-for posts by influencers and celebrities.

As well as the checklist, the ASA is also working with ITV to offer more detailed guidance and to make available its advice and training resources, in line with the channel’s duty-of-care commitment to contestants.

The ASA said it will also contact the talent agencies that represent contestants post-show to make them fully aware of the rules and their responsibilities in helping their clients stick to them.

Guy Parker, the ASA's chief executive, said: "Our checklist is a quick and effective way of helping Love Islanders ensure their social media posts stick to the rules and avoid misleading their followers. Our message is simple: make sure you’re upfront and clear when you’re being paid to post."

ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall defended the broadcaster's duty of care in an interview on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday, saying ITV had increased the amount of therapy provided to contestants during the series and post-show. McCall also said that the media "had simplified links" between the programme and the suicide of two former contestants. 

Analysis last month of the Instagram accounts of the 17 contestants on this year's series of Love Island by influencer agency Takumi found high proportions of fake followers, with all but one having a follower base that was at least 50% fake.

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