Snickers’ Twitter ad avoids censure

Mars has escaped censure over the controversial tweets sent by celebrities such as Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand promoting Snickers, the first ever ruling by the advertising watchdog on a Twitter campaign.


The celebrities sent a series of out of character tweets, for example Price on the debt problems in the Eurozone and Ferdinand on knitting, before ending with a picture of themselves eating a Snickers bar with the line “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUk #hungry #spon

Complainants challenged that the @SnickersUK #hungry #spon campaign was misleading because the activity did not explicitly state it was promotional until the final reveal tweet. Additionally, is was questioned whether the hashtag “#spon” in that tweet clearly marked it as a marketing communication.

In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority said that consumers would recognise that the series of tweets formed a marketing communication because the spoof posts, and the reveal tweet that included the Snickers brand name, were sent in quick succession.

“We considered the combination of those elements was sufficient to make clear the tweets were advertising and that consumers would then understand each series of tweets was a marketing communication,” the watchdog added.

The ruling will be noted by brands because it is the first investigation in to a Twitter campaign since the ASA assumed oversight of social media marketing in 2010. The Office of Fair Trading has warned brands that brands must make it clear that tweets are promotional.

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