New GVH Guidance on influencer marketing2022. November 11.
The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has published a new consolidated guidance on influencer marketing which provides concrete examples of the presentation of advertising content, as well as guidelines on recent decisions by the competition authorities, in order to provide appropriate information to the large number of new entrants to the market, to businesses advertising with influencers, and to intermediaries and advertising agencies.
The Definition of an Influencer
The Guidance clarifies the definition of an influencer (opinion shaper), which now also covers animals, mascots, avatars or individuals who promote third-party products on their own social media channels in exchange for compensation.
The Guidance is supplemented by the definition of “Editorial Content”, according to which editorial content is defined as the profile pages operated by influencers, the posts (texts, pictures, links, opinions, etc.) produced and published by them, as well as their sequence and flow. When shaping Posts, it is important to distinguish between different purposes i.e. independent vs paid-for content for consumers on the given platform edited by the influencer (e.g. Instagram page), where consumers expect essentially independent, entertaining content.
Principles and additional expectations for the indication of the existence of compensation
It remains the general principle that any kind of business relationship or cooperation between influencer and advertiser should be clearly and accurately identifiable for consumers;
• noticeably, emphatically, conspicuously
• simple, clear and understandable
that the influencer has received compensation for the content posted.
The above rules also apply if the influencer is promoting its own business, products or services.
Any reference to advertising and the content tag provided by the platform must also be used in Hungarian. The designations still accepted are „Reklám” (“Advertisement”), „Hirdetés” (“Commercial”), „Szponzorált tartalom” (“Sponsored content”), “…szponzorált” (“…..sponsored”) according to the GVH’s view. The use of the commercial tag itself is sufficient to comply with the requirement to indicate the fact of compensation (e.g. “Paid partnership” on Instagram).
In the case of “stories”, it is recommended to indicate the fact of the compensation by direct textual indication and by a narrative warning, and in the case of “stories” consisting of several short parts, the indication should be given in the same way in all parts.
It is of utmost importance that the content published by the influencer conveys a true, fair and authentic image of the product or service, i.e. that it is in line with the other provisions of the Fttv. Further requirement is that the influencer actually knows and tries the product or service being promoted, and that his or her manifestations reflect his or her personal experiences with the product, and to draw the consumer’s attention to other relevant information about the product or service (e.g. fees to be paid, conditions for obtaining a discount, health risks).
Advertising of medicines and medical aids
The Guidance clearly states that advertising medicines if they may be dispensed from a pharmacy without a prescription and medical aids for which no social security subsidies are available by recommendation from celebrities and healthcare professionals is not allowed in line with the prohibition in Section 17 Subsection (2) Point (g) of the Gyftv.
The Guidance contains new rules on the liability of advertisers, businesses involved in the creation of an advertisement, influencers and agencies.
Based on the Guidance in the case of infringement, the liability of the advertisers, influencers and agencies can also be established for published advertisements, therefore it is important that advertisers, both their own employees and the agencies and influencers cooperating with them, become familiar with the legal requirements, and providing a training prior to the cooperation can be a suitable solution.