Clear disclosure of an ad is of paramount importance in the advertising world, and we have discussed this previously in our blogs here and here.

In the ever-evolving landscape of advertising regulations, the recent decision by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding social media posts by former footballers in relation to Supreme CBD’s products have sparked discussion in the press.

The posts referred to the CBD product helping individuals with anxiety and insomnia and contained discount codes.

The complainants understood that the former footballers were brand ambassadors for Supreme CBD, had a commercial interest in the products, and therefore challenged whether the posts were obviously identifiable as marketing communications.

The ASA held that under the CAP Code, the posts were marketing communications and as such, should have been obviously identifiable. Such marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent if it is not obvious from the context. In addition, the posts made a number of claims that would be interpreted by consumers as claims to prevent, treat and cure human disease. Under the CAP Code, claims which state or imply a food could prevent, treat, or cure human disease are prohibited.

One of the individuals responded to the ASA to say he had immediately withdrawn the facility for social media posts to be sent on his behalf and would ensure that all future posts would be labelled clearly as marketing material.

This ruling serves as a reminder to CBD brands and advertisers about the importance of their disclosure obligations (i.e. making ads clear to consumers, which the relevant UK regulators recommend is done by the use of #ad). Moreover, this ruling makes it clear that allowing someone else to control an individual’s social media account is not a defence to breaches of advertising regulations.

In an industry rife with misinformation and exaggerated claims, maintaining transparency and integrity is paramount to ensure consumers are not misled. As the CBD industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that CBD brands prioritise compliance with advertising laws and responsible marketing practices to build trust and credibility with consumers.

For more information, support, or advice on this area, please contact our Global Head of our Advertising, Media and Brands practice, partner Carlton Daniel, or associate Sera Kaplan.