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BizReport : Advertising archives : April 06, 2016

CMA contacts marketers warning against undisclosed advertising

The Competition and Markets Authority in the UK has approached marketing companies, businesses that use marketing companies and publishers to warn them of the consequences of inadequate labeling of paid promotions.

by Helen Leggatt

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has written to several marketing departments, marketing agencies and their clients to outline their concerns regarding the promotion of products where "the trader has paid (financially or otherwise) for the promotion, without making this clear to the consumer". A similar open letter warns that such practice is "unlawful and may lead to enforcement action".

The letter makes an example out of a recent case in which two marketing companies, Starcom Mediavest and TAN Media, arranged for undisclosed advertising in online articles and blogs on behalf of MYJAR, a short-term loan provider.

"Opinions in blogs and other online articles can influence people's shopping decisions. Failing to identify advertising and other marketing, so that it appears to be the opinion of a journalist or blogger, is unlawful and unacceptable," said Nisha Arora, CMA Senior Director, Consumer. "The businesses being promoted, the marketing companies arranging promotions and publishers of online articles all need to play their role and maintain trust online by ensuring that advertising and other marketing is clearly distinguishable from editorial content and that this is not hidden from the consumer. We understand that these are important channels for businesses seeking to promote products and services - but they need to do so in a way that complies with consumer protection law."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, law, paid promotions, regulation

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