Kettering social media influencer censured by watchdog for TikTok GHD post

Emily Canham was advertising straighteners but didn't make it clear to her followers

Saturday, 7th November 2020, 10:00 am
Emily has 700,000 followers on her Insta and TikTok channels and a million on her YouTube channel. Pic: Emily Canham Instagram

A Kettering influencer has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority after failing to make it clear to her followers that a post about GHD hair straighteners was an advert.

Emily Canham, who went to Southfield School and is dating Busted star James Bourne, has 700,000 followers on the social video app TikTok, which has exploded in popularity since the first UK lockdown.

The ASA ruling said that a video of Emily using the appliance posted on June 14 had a caption saying: "hiii just a lil psa there's 20% off the GHD website TODAY ONLY with the code EMILY … #fyp #foryourpage".

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A complainant challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as marketing.

The ASA said that Jemella Ltd, which owns the GHD brand, provided a copy of a contract governing their relationship with Emily which said she had provide a number of social media posts while at a music festival.

But after the COVID-19 outbreak, the festival had been cancelled, the contract varied, and Emily's brief changed to provide a TikTok video on 26 May, a YouTube video with the accompanying promotional discount code “EMILY” across 13 to 14 June, and two Instagram posts across 13 to 14 June.

They said the TikTok post-dated 14 June was created without their oversight and approval and did not form part of Emily's contractual obligations to them, and additionally she had not been compensated for the promotional code featured therein.

Emily's agent said their client had not been paid for the post or received commission for the promotional code featured in the post. They said Emily had removed the video from her TikTok account.

Upholding the complaint, the authority said the UK CAO code said that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such and that they must make clear their commercial intent, if that was not obvious from the context.

Under the financial agreement between Emily and GHD, she was contracted to post a number of videos and posts across her social media accounts and that one of those videos, on YouTube, should contain the promotional code “EMILY”.

The ASA said the statement “20% off the GHD website TODAY ONLY with the code EMILY” appeared in other posts on social media made by Emily as part of her contract on the same day as that post.

Although the post under investigation was not paid for, the ASA said that the post featured the same promotional code stipulated in the agreement to promote GHD.

While Emily had not received commission for any sales generated through the use of the promotional code the ASA considered the post was an ad and had appeared as part of an exhortation by Emily encouraging consumers to buy GHD’s products, and therefore the commercial nature of the content should have been made clear prior to consumers using the code.

But Emily had not made it clear to those viewing it that it was an ad and the ASA concluded that the post was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and as such breached the Code.

Emily and GHD were banned from running the same advert again and reminded of their obligation to identify future adverts.

Emily, whose social media lifestyle posts are viewed by thousands every day, has recently returned from London to live in Kettering to be closer to her family.