Industry awaits TGA clarification to understand impacts of new influencer rules

The Australian influencer industry this week scrambled to make sense of the new Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Advertising Code, and what this would mean for the future of influencer marketing in the wellness space.

Earlier this week, AIMCO clarified misinformation regarding the code’s new rules for influencer marketing, stating that the influencers would still be able to provide paid and gifted promotions of TGA regulated goods, so long as they did not speak on their own experience with the product. The industry body said that the greatest challenge for influencers and marketers would understanding the difference between an endorsement and a testimonial.


While the industry is still awaiting further clarification from the TGA as to how endorsements and testimonials would be distinguished, there is a question of how the prohibition of testimonials for therapeutic goods will affect a marketing channel that traditionally depends on authentic exchange between creators and their audiences.

AIMCO chair and CEO and founder of influencer agency Hypetap, Detch Singh, said that while influencer marketing leverages audiences’ trust in creators and their experiences, influencer marketing could still be an effective channel for products regulated under the TGA.

“The premise behind the channel from a marketing standpoint is to leverage the creator’s relationship with their audience and the credibility of authentic recommendations from a trusted source. Whilst we’re confident that influencer marketing will still be effective for TGA regulated products, we recognise that ensuring talent understand the approach and the distinction between an endorsement versus a testimonial is essential. This will require appropriate debriefing from clients and clear creator agreements for TGA listed products. We’re confident that we can achieve the benefits clients have come to expect from this channel given that the good operators will know how to address this in terms of resources, skill and strategy. One positive is that this TGA clarification will force out any unsubstantiated claims that are simply not appropriate for therapeutic goods,” said Singh.

Mumbrella also spoke to managing director and founder of Yellow, Tim Rabash, who said that while the combination of dramatic headlines and a lack of clarity in the TGA’s new rules caused unnecessary panic in the industry, the changes would impact the kinds of partnerships available to influencers and small businesses in particular.

“TGA must provide more information around these definitions as well as potentially reconsider a few of the logistical challenges mentioned elsewhere – such as, influencers having to remove all non-abiding historical posts and the rules only applying to Australian based influencers – an easy loophole to counter this is by using overseas influencers with Aussie followings,” said Rasbash.

“Whilst Yellow will not see any immediate impact of these changes due to the makeup of our client roster, there’s no doubt brands whom provide therapeutic goods will be reconsidering the use of influencers in a traditional sense, in the future. This means those who will be hit hardest will be the influencers who rely on these kind of brand partnerships and the small businesses that provide therapeutic goods who can’t afford larger advertising costs.”

“Whilst I’m positive the good work of AIMCO will help to eventually provide clarity, moving forward influencers themselves cannot be held accountable to know and apply the regulations. Responsibility must sit with be the brands and distributers to know that their product needs to been regulated and provide guidance,” Rasbash concluded.


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