The below report is about as far downstream as one can get, but a social media-challenged trade editor who came across the torrid story of a social influencer posting her love for a charging cable felt compelled to share it. Below are excerpts and WJI commentary.
Sophie Cachia, an Australian social influencer, recently shared her feeling about her new Cygnett charging cable. Her Instagram story declared her utter love for the cable.
““Found my baby!!!! @cygnett Nobody charges my phone like this cord here. Whenever I lose it, it’s devastating (aka Bobby steals it for his iPad) I will neverrrrrrr go back to any other cord. Not spon, just simply life changing when you need your phone constantly & charged SO fast.”
It is safe to say that such words have never been seen in Wire Journal, but the posting led to a complaint being filed with the Ad Standards, Australia’s advertising complaints adjudicator. Why the accusation? It turns out that Cygnett pays Cachia to be a social influencer on their behalf, as was noted in the complaint: “Sophie is obviously getting paid to be an ongoing ambassador for this product/brand (Cygnett) and should clearly display that it is a paid post.”
A statement from Cygnett said that it had nothing to do with the post. “This promotion by Sophie Cachia was created and published without Cygnett having any prior knowledge, nor was it financially supported by Cygnett in anyway. ... This is the first time to our knowledge that Sophie has ever posted about Cygnett outside her paid agreement.”
No doubt you noted that Sophie’s post said “Not spon,” so one could say that she was sending this on her own, professing her (financially unsupported) love for her cable.
So, was Sophie wrong? Was this in essence a paid Cygnett ad ... even if it was not paid for?
The Ad Standards Community Panel considered whether this advertisement breaches the AANA Code of Ethics 2.7. Per the Distinguishable Advertising Code, “social media advertising which compensates influencers for promoting a product should be clearly distinguishable as an advertisement. Advertising on all platforms should be easily distinguishable as such.”
The Panel found that posting “not spon” was confusing to viewers and made it difficult to tell whether the posting was or was not an ad. While the content was “not spon,” it clearly was about the product, and thus the endorsement made it advertising.
In its unofficial (and unasked for) ruling, WJI finds that the real violation is the lack of any technical details that led to such unconditional cable love.