01/09/2013 : TV PERSONALITY GETS ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR INTO HOT WATER
ASA rules that Twitter comment constitutes a stealth marketing communication
British television personality and actor Keith Chegwin went a little overboard on Twitter this week with an enthusiastic but rather heavy handed tweet urging followers to visit the PCH Prizes website associated with the Alderney-licensed Genting land and online gambling group.
The tweet triggered a complaint from a member of the public that it constituted a marketing communication that should have been identified as such, a view with which Britain's Advertising Standards Authority agreed, cautioning PCH.
PCH claimed that the tweet was not prompted by them, nor did they play any role in deciding its content; Chegwin had had sole editorial control, although the company admitted that it did have a promotional relationship with the television presenter, and their contract with him specified promotional tasks. However, the firm claimed that there was nothing which required or invited him to tweet on their behalf. They therefore considered they were not responsible for the tweet and it was not a marketing communication, and it therefore did not fall within the ASA's remit.
In its findings, the ASA noted that Chegwin was directly involved in the promotion of the competition about which he had tweeted and was featured prominently on PCH's website in relation to that competition.
"We considered that even if PCH's contract with KC did not specifically require or suggest that he should tweet about the competition, his tweet was directly related to his promotional activity for PCH and therefore the tweet formed part of that promotional activity; a reciprocal agreement existed in which KC was contracted to publicise PCH and PCH benefited from him doing so," the standards body ruled.
"We concluded the tweet was a marketing communication which fell within the ASA's remit. Furthermore, because the tweet formed part of KC's promotional activity for PCH, we considered that although KC had composed the tweet himself it was PCH's responsibility to ensure that promotional activity conducted on their behalf was compliant with the CAP Code."
Perhaps a little more marketing subtlety is indicated?
View the ASA finding here: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/1/Genting-Alderney-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_209991.aspx