The tweets carried the hashtag “#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount” and the Nike URL in the text. The ASA received complaints about the tweets, which formed part of Nike’s “make it count campaign”, and ruled that references to Nike within the tweets were not sufficiently prominent and could be overlooked. The ASA said that the tweets breached the CAP Code (the code of practice that seeks to ensure that adverts are not misleading). Although the CAP Code does not have legal force, it is best practice to comply with it, as failure to do so can result in bad publicity and ultimately an inability to obtain advertising space.
The ruling has prompted the ASA to publish guidance on how to ensure that its marketing can be recognised as marketing by consumers, which suggests that advertisers use “#ad” or “#spon” to make it clear. The guidance also recommends that advertising style, content and context must also make it obvious that it is advertising.