Anna Heinrich updates post for Runaway The Label to disclose paid partnership

Influencer and former Bachelor winner, Anna Heinrich, has updated the Instagram post which was found to breach the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code (AANA) of Ethics clause regarding distinguishable advertising to disclose the image of her in a green dress was part of a paid partnership with fashion brand Runaway The Label.

The case was the first complaint regarding the transparency of influencer marketing to be upheld by the Ad Standards Community Panel since the updated AANA Code of Ethics came into effect in February, clarifying what is found to be sufficient methods of disclosure for paid partnership.

Heinrich has updated her post disclosing the paid partnership with Runaway The Label

Runaway The Label failed to respond to the case and the subsequent ruling, leaving the post unchanged. In the case, published late last week, the community panel noted the event of non-compliance with the industry self-regulator, writing: “The advertiser has not provided a response to the Panel’s determination. Ad Standards will continue to work with the advertiser and other industry bodies regarding this issue of non-compliance.”

In cases of non-compliance, Ad Standards believes the brand involved “can risk its reputation being damaged by being known as a company which has breached the codes and offended against community standards”. Cases can then be escalated to relevant industry bodies to take action.

Despite Runaway The Label not engaging with Ad Standards, Heinrich’s Instagram post for Runaway The Label was ruled an advertisement owing to the quality of the image and the clear display of the garment which would draw attention to the brand. Referring to the practice note in Section 2.7 of the AANA Code of Ethics, which outlines the appropriate hashtags and disclosures to be used in paid content, the panel ruled simply tagging Runaway The Label’s account was not sufficient for the majority of the public to recognise the post as advertising material, and subsequently upheld the complaint.

David Dalton, general manager of Chic Talent Management which counts Heinrich amongst its clients, told Mumbrella that Runaway The Label did not make Heinrich and her team aware of the Ad Standards case, and updated the post as soon as they were alerted to the breach upon the case’s publication last week.

“We were completely unaware, as was Anna, that one of her posts had even come before Ad Standards until Thursday last week when we were contacted for comment regarding the alleged breach,” Dalton said.

“Unfortunately the brand never disclosed to us that they had been contacted by Ad Standards, so it was quite a surprise. We contacted the brand immediately and amended the post, unfortunately the ‘paid collaboration with…’ didn’t appear until the Friday. Anna Heinrich has always been very open and honest with her audience and we certainly would have addressed this had we become aware of it sooner.”

Ad Standards also responded to the update, with a spokesperson telling Mumbrella: “It’s great to see a well-known personality engage with the system, and we encourage all advertisers and influencers to comply with the new rules so that commercial arrangements are clear to consumers.”

Runaway The Label has not responded to Mumbrella’s multiple requests for comment.

Influencer marketing has come under the microscope following an investigation from SBS’ The Feed exposing failures in the vetting process of influencer agencies, access to fake follower businesses, and brands instructing influencers not to disclose their partnerships in their content.


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