17th January 2016

Buzzfeed Censured By Advertising Standards Authority

Buzzfeed UK has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for not clearly labelling paid-for content.


According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Buzzfeed UK has failed to clearly label paid-for content.

Buzzfeed UK's entire web revenue comes from sponsored editorial, not advertising.

A complaint was made to the ASA about an article entitled "14 Laundry Fails We've All Experienced", which was a piece of sponsored editorial (an advertorial).

The advertorial was sponsored by Dylon, and was published in October 2015.

"Dylon Brand Publisher" was written below the headline of the article, along with the logo for Dylon's Colour Catcher.

The ASA ruled that it was not immediately clear on the main article page that this was a piece of advertorial content, although it was evidenced on the Buzzfeed UK homepage.

The ASA said: “While we acknowledged that these elements implied a connection with Dylon, we considered they were not sufficient to make clear that the main content of the web page was an advertorial and that editorial content was therefore retained by the advertiser.

“We further noted that the web page was very long and visitors to it would therefore not see the reference to Dylon Colour Catcher at the bottom of the page until they had already engaged with the content.

“We acknowledged the inclusion of the label ‘Brand Publisher’ near the top of the web page next to the Dylon name and logo, but we considered it was not particularly prominent and the terminology did not, either in itself or in conjunction with the other page elements, adequately convey the commercial nature of the content to consumers.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was not obviously identifiable as such and that it therefore breached the Code.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Henkel Ltd and BuzzFeed UK Ltd to ensure that ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications, including by using labels other than ‘Brand Publisher’ for advertorials.”

 
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