In case you missed it, following discussion with the industry and the CMA, and conducting its own research, the ASA has updated its guidance on disclosures.

Not much has changed, but notably the ASA is now clearly of the view that a prominent reference to #AFFILIATE (even at the start of a post) is not clear enough to identify posts which contain affiliate links.  

Instead, the blanket, one-size-fits-Kall approach of using #ad (with or without the hashtag) is recommended to identify affiliate posts.

The ASA also makes clear that it does not recommend #gifted. It doesn’t mention #freebie, but generally doesn’t like anything other than #ad to cover all eventualities.

In fairness, the ASA’s recent research, conducted by Ipsos Mori, revealed a pretty amazing lack of understanding by many consumers even when a post was clearly labelled “ADVERTISEMENT”, so perhaps it is understandable that the ASA prefers to simplify things and rely on the lowest common denominator.

Others will argue that further research is needed in this area so that an evidence based apprach can be taken, and so we can understand from consumers whether the ubiquitous #ad still means anything, even when the arguably more informative #gifted or #freebie (to signpost a more strings attached freebie’) or #affiliate (to signpost an affiliate post) apparently is not clear enough.

Others are completely bored by this topic, and wonder why, between them, the regulators keep insisting that in theory they don’t want to be prescriptive, before insisting in practice on the use of #ad for every eventuality and seemingly rejecting every alternative.

I couldn’t possibly say which camp I fall into of course.

The updated guidance by the CMA and ASA can be found here. It was updated on 6 Feb 2020.