The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has added guidelines for influencers in its set of responsible marketing principles.
The SWA has published the fifth edition of its Code of Practice for the Responsible Marketing and Promotion of Scotch Whisky, which will come into force tomorrow (1 November). The SWA updates its guide regularly to keep up with changes in marketing and society.
The revised edition includes a section on influencer marketing, with a new rule and guidance that follows the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)’s Influencer Guiding Principles (IGP).
Mark Kent, SWA chief executive, said: “Our industry takes the responsible marketing of its products extremely seriously, and the Code underlines our members’ continued commitment to promote Scotch whisky responsibly in our national and international markets.
“It’s important that we review our Code regularly to ensure that it keeps apace with developments in marketing, and this new guidance will ensure that the evolution of responsible promotional methods across digital channels are covered clearly and robustly.”
The IARD defines an influencer as an ‘independent third-party endorser who shapes audience attitudes through blogs, posts, tweets, and the use of other social media including game-streaming platforms’.
The SWA’s updated Code includes rule 4.2.3, which stipulates that when using a social media influencer they must comply with the IGP.
The IGP is composed of five safeguards that apply to paid, incentivised and unpaid influencer content where there is an agreement struck between the producer and the influencer.
It states that a paid social media influencer must ‘effectively’ age gate their social media posts or channels, where possible, to prevent those under the legal drinking age from viewing them.
When using platforms without age-gating mechanisms for influencers, paid influencers should be at least 25 years old, the IARD said.
A ‘media-specific’ exclusion is also granted that enables influencers to be under the age of 25 if they have effective age controls in place.
Influencers must be vetted to ensure they have no link with harmful drinking or feature posts that would not be compliant with the SWA Code.
For paid content, all influencers should have a written agreement in place signed by both parties.
Posts by influencers must also be monitored for compliance and amended or removed within 72 hours if they do not meet the Code. SWA members should regularly audit and monitor campaigns for compliant and non-compliant posts, the Code said.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization called for tighter regulations on alcohol advertising, however industry bodies hit back at the suggestion.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers