In 2008, EASA established a Best Practice Recommendation (BPR) on Digital Marketing Communications (DMC) which, among other, reaffirmed the remit of the SROs and the respective responsibilities of the stakeholders. It unambiguously extended the scope of advertising self-regulation to all forms of marketing communications, including digital media, as well as any future forms of digital marketing communication that were yet to be developed. From this point, influencer marketing already became the subject of SR codes and rules.

However, the novelties in marketing communications brought by influencer marketing and the growing importance of this marketing technique, especially among an increasing number of young people and minors, called for additional action and guidance for the industry. Therefore, as early as 2017, the SROs in EASA network started working on national guidelines for influencer marketing putting self-regulatory efforts on the forefront of ensuring responsible application of this marketing technique.

In 2018, EASA also took steps at the European level by issuing Best Practice Recommendation on Influencer Marketing. The BPR looks at the key elements of influencer marketing techniques and assists SROs in creating their own national guidance, providing advice on issues regarding definition of influencer marketing, editorial control, material connection between advertisers and influencers, recognisability and disclosure, responsibility of stakeholders and awareness raising. The EASA guidelines recognise a close link between influencer marketing and the concept of user generated content, which can subsequently mislead the consumers, and acknowledge that the role of the advertising self-regulatory organisations is to guide the industry stakeholders – advertisers and brand owners as well as influencers themselves – to use this marketing technique responsibly and in compliance with the existing SR principles and national SR codes.

The EASA network SROs have embraced the EASA Influencer Marketing BPR. Since its adoption, a number of ad standards’ bodies have adopted the provisions of the EASA BPR in their local codes and issued their own national guidelines, tailored to their market and consumer needs and habits. SROs have also created extensive training programmes, seminars and workshops for the industry and carried out monitoring exercises to assess the influencer marketing compliance with the ethical codes.

EASA and its SROs’ network continue to develop and promote their actions in addressing this challenging and constantly evolving marketing technique, seeking to ensure the highest level of consumer protection against irresponsible advertising.

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