Advertising Standards Authority upholds further complaints against Kiwi Instagram influencer Simone Anderson

Kiwi influencer Simone Anderson has had three complaints against her upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Kiwi influencer Simone Anderson has had three complaints against her upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. Photo credit: Instagram - @simone_anderson

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld three complaints against Kiwi Instagram influencer Simone Anderson eight months after she was ordered to remove similar posts. 

In the latest decisions, it was found advertisements on the 30-year-olds page were misleading and unable to be identified as advertisements.

Two complainants were concerned over a collection of Instagram stories where Anderson talked about products from her activewear brand Embrace Active, they said it was misleading as people may not be aware she is promoting her own brand. 

None of the stories made it clear to be an advertisement, except for the final screen which was labelled "ad @embrace_active."

The ASA says the stories met their definition of an advertisement because Anderson was wearing clothing from a brand with which she has a commercial relationship. 

The third complaint was about an Instagram post where Anderson shared a selfie wearing activewear with the brand name "Aim'n" across the front of her top. The photo was captioned "A fresh week, I am ready for you!"

The complainant was concerned the post was misleading as Anderson is a paid ambassador for Aim'n activewear and didn't disclose this in the post by using the label #ad. 

The complaints board agreed that due to the commercial relationship between Anderson and Aim the post should have been clearly labelled as an ad.

"Showcasing the brand was of benefit to both parties and the commercial relationship should

be clear to consumers in the post."

In response to the first two complaints, Anderson said it was her understanding that "according to ASA guidelines you only need to place 'ad' on the slides if the brand is being tagged/advertised and directing people to it." 

The board said the average consumer takeout from the stories would be that Anderson was talking about the benefits and design features of Embrace Active and it was not obvious enough she was advertising her own brand. 

Even though the last story slide featured an 'ad' label, the board said each slide of the Instagram story was an advertisement and needed to be labelled appropriately.

It was ruled the advertisement was "not to be used again in its current form." 

Responding to the third complaint Anderson said she was "simply wearing clothing," adding there was no mention of Aim'n nor were they tagged. 

She also asked the authority whether she was able to wear clothing in posts if it has been gifted, even if the brand is not mentioned. 

Aim'n said the post was not part of their scheduled affiliate promotions and the content was "100 percent" created by Anderson herself.

Despite there being no direct financial gain to Anderson, Aim'n considered that any content containing their products makes it possible for her to receive financial gains and should be labelled as advertising. 

The board agreed that although the brand wasn't tagged, the likely consumer takeout was that Anderson was promoting Aim'n activewear in a post about being ready to take on the week.

The board said the post "promotes the Aim’n activewear brand by a brand ambassador and should have been labelled as advertising," adding it didn't matter if the brand had not been tagged or mentioned anywhere in the post other than in the image. 

The post was then ordered to be removed or amended. 

ASA complaints upheld against the health and lifestyle influencer in July involved similar issues with Instagram posts.

Three complaints were upheld against an Instagram story where Anderson didn't make it clear there was a commercial relationship between herself and Aim'n, and another was upheld where she didn't inform followers a stay she had at the Cordis hotel was gifted. 

Last year's ASA decisions were the first of its kind to be made against a New Zealand social media influencer.