Business news: Nike Twitter Ad Campaign Banned in the U.K.
The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it told Nike U.K. to stop the sponsored tweets of footballers Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney. In January, the two players, both sponsored by Nike, tweeted using the #makeitcount hashtag. The Make It Count campaign, launched in April by Nike promotes Nike Fuel, a suite of products to help people measure their athletic activities.
Releasing its decision, the ASA wrote, "Nike believed the tweets could be objectively viewed as marketing communications because of the presence of the Nike URL within the body of the tweets, which indicated that the tweets' purpose was to direct followers to the Nike website.
The ASA provided examples of personal tweets by both footballers which did not contain the Nike URL and did not refer to their professional capacity as footballers. According to the ASA, Nike "said when viewed alongside each other, which was similar to the way followers would view a Twitter feed, they believed it was clear which were personal tweets and which were ads. They believed that the inclusion of the Nike URL, combined with the Nike campaign strap line #makeitcount, made sufficiently clear that those tweets were advertising."
But the ASA upheld the complaint, pointing out that not all consumers would know #makeitcount was a Nike campaign. The Committee of Advertising Practice Codes, which are administered by the ASA, say that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such, and that they shouldn't give the impression that a marketer is acting as a consumer.
The ASA noted that the athletes' tweets had been approved by Nike before being released.