New Decisions: Real estate ads, influencers, and more

The following decisions have been released to the ASA website:

Influencer ad content on personal pages must be identified

Four Instagram stories from Influencer Edna Swart promoted her ED&I (Edni Body) swimwear and body care system on her personal Instagram page.

Three Complainants were concerned the Instagram stories featured on the Advertiser’s personal Instagram page were misleading by not making clear throughout that it she is advertising her own brand.

The Advertiser defended the complaints, responding that she bought the company and pays for the products, so does not need to identify products she showcases as advertisements.

When considering the Instagram stories, the Complaints Board agreed the content met the ASA’s definition of advertising as it was intended to influence the choice, opinion or behaviour of consumers who engaged with it. The majority of the Complaints Board said it was not likely to be obvious to most consumers Edna Swart owned the promoted business, Edni Body.

The majority of the Board agreed the story would not require labelling if it appeared on the Edni Body business Instagram page as consumers would expect all content to be advertising. However, as it was posted on a personal Instagram account which has a mix of organic content and advertisements for other products unrelated to her Edni business, there was a need to label this content to avoid confusion for consumers.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Upheld and the advertisements were not to be used again in their current form.

Accuracy important when using sales data in real estate ads

The Ray White Damerell Group print advertisement in the Quarterly Magazine showed a property with a sold sign. The details listed said “17 Parker Avenue. Sold $3,458,000. CV $1,175,000. Area: 1,012sqm.” The advertisement includes a bedroom icon stating 6, a bathroom icon stating 2 and a car icon stating 5.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement is misleading to claim the property at 17 Parker Avenue had sold for the price quoted, given that the price included a second property at 19 Parker Avenue.

The Advertiser defended the advertisement stating the information provided in their Quarterly magazine was an accurate representation of the data downloaded from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

The Complaints Board said the REINZ source data used in the advertisement had combined the property information and sales price for both 17 and 19 Parker Avenue, resulting in property details and sales price which did not match the image shown in the advertisement. The Board said it understood the Advertiser considered it should be able to rely on the data from the REINZ. However, in this instance, as two properties were sold together, the standard format for recording a sale in the REINZ data meant the information included in the Ray White Damerell Group advertisement was not correct and it created the impression that 17 Parker Avenue was sold for $3,458,000.

The Complaints Board unanimously agreed the advertisement had the potential to mislead or confuse consumers, and ruled the complaint was Upheld.