Outfluenced?! What the new rules mean for your influencer campaigns

The new amendment to the media law recently turned the marketing and communication country upside down. From July 1, influencers must adhere to a laundry list of regulations that focus on advertising. I explain what that means for your influencer collaboration in this article.

Recently, new legislation – as always happens with new legislation – caused a stir in the marketing and communication country. From July 1, major influencers – who have more than 500,000 followers or subscribers on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok – will receive a package of stricter rules for sponsorships and advertising. This type of influencer such as Monica Geuze and Kelvin Boerma also comes under the supervision of the Media Authority, which, for example, also supervises major streaming services such as Netflix and Videoland.

At TEAM LEWIS we regularly work with (big) influencers. For many brands, they are a direct channel to the right audience, making them the holy grail for promotion. This legislation obviously has an influence on that. So it’s time to put things in order. In this article I explain why the new regulations are being introduced, what exactly is changing, and how this can affect your influencer strategy. Because we are far from being ‘outfluenced’!

A new legislation especially for young people

It is not new that media is largely consumed online. Especially among young people we see that they watch less and less analogue television and are more active on social media. That shift is also shifting brands to media other than television to promote themselves. To protect the young target group from unwanted advertising practices, the EU therefore drafted the Media Act in 2020. Online content therefore falls under supervision, in addition to the traditional media. The new rules that come into effect on 1 July 2022 are the Dutch interpretation of this.

The new rules at a glance

For this group of influencers, the new rules come as no surprise. At the entrance of the new Media Act in 2020 It was already clear that additional rules would follow. The main rules here are: be clear about when you advertise, take into account underage viewers and make known who you are. But to which one lines should influencers be specific?

  • If a video is advertised, the influencer should clearly state this. This can be done, for example, by adding ‘paid collaboration’ or ‘#ad’. You also clearly state for which brand the advertisement is being made.
  • Spurious advertising is not allowed. Not even if the entire video is commissioned by a brand.
  • If the influencer gets paid to show a product in a video, this should be clearly stated at the beginning and at the end of the message.
  • The influencer may not encourage viewers to buy, purchase or rent products or services by promoting them. It is therefore not allowed to emphasize a number of times that it is really a great product.
  • Are you an influencer who makes videos and earns money from them? Then you must register with the supervisory authority: the Media Authority.
  • Everyone should use Kijkwijzer icons.

For videos specifically intended for children, extra strict rules apply:

  • you don’t make unboxing video’s of children’s toys.
  • You are not promoting food aimed at children under the age of 7. Promotion of unhealthy food (licorice, candy and chocolate) is also not allowed for children under 13 years of age.
  • You are not allowed to promote online games of chance and gambling with a target group that mainly consists of people younger than 25 years old.
  • If your promotion is aimed at children, you need to be extra clear and transparent. The listing you use should be understandable to the young target audience.

The effect on your influencer campaigns

We now know that the rules for influencers are changing, but what do these changes mean for your influencer campaigns? Do you need to set up campaigns differently, what should you pay attention to and what happens if you break the rules? In general, you should pay attention to at least 2 things:

  1. As a brand, it is important to make clear agreements in advance about the campaign. This is not something that will change because of the new rules, brands used to do this too. You record the agreements made in advance in the contract, so that it is clear to both parties what the agreements are.
  2. Provide a good briefing. As a brand, you usually provide the influencer with a briefing. You can use this briefing to indicate that the influencer must clearly communicate that it is a paid collaboration. If you do not state this clearly, the influencer risks a fine and people can file a complaint with the Advertising Code Committee. The amount of these fines is not yet known.

For now, the regulations only apply to influencers with a reach of more than half a million, but reports from the supervisory board show that it may later also apply to smaller influencers.

Perhaps a reassurance. The supervisory board prefers to focus on education and information about what is and is not acceptable when uploading commercial content, rather than immediately imposing fines. But, in the end, it is up to us as communication professionals to record things well and to provide a good briefing. This too is part of our job, to sometimes be the moral compass and sound the alarm. Not only to comply with legislation, but also to be transparent in our work. With the right influencer match and message, you don’t have to be sneaky, it sells itself!

Source: Frankwatching by www.frankwatching.com.

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