Thursday, 21 June 2012

Wayne Rooney is in trouble again. This time they're banning his tweets.

Advertising standards people, is there no end to them.

With nothing to do, having spent a lifetime banning TV/Print/Radio Ads, they've now decided to enter the digital space and banning a Twitter Ad for the first time. This is the thin end of a wedge and marketers need to get on top of this before it gets out of hand. Again.

Banning Twitter? This had better be good.

I have blogged recently about guest tweeting for Snickers, WorldIrish and how it went wrong for VisitSweden here

Now along comes Nike UK who, legitimately, get soccer stars to endorse their products and tweet about them. One none other than recent superstar Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), who having returned from a two match ban scored the winner in the European Championships to get England through to the Quarter Finals.

Nope you're wrong, Ukraine did not score. (well, not really).

It happened as part of Nike's "make it count" campaign because Wayne didn't clearly explain that his tweets were Ads (which they weren't, they were tweets from a player who endorses Nike. Anyway, move on.)

And here is the grossly offending tweet that went to his 5m followers;

My resolution - to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion... #makeitcount

Arsenal (a small English club you've probably never heard of) midfielder Jack Wilshire did the same and directed followers back to the Nike site.

The Advertising Standards Authority started an investigation (honestly, an investigation).

Let's think that through. Let's be investigators for a minute. Advertising investigators. Exciting isn't it?

Firstly, I see a Nike poster all over the place (as the one at the top of this blog). It's for Nike. It features Wayne Rooney. I'm going to have a long shot here and say I think Wayne Rooney endorses Nike. Call me crazy but I'm just going to have to go with that hunch.

Secondly, the tweet is @waynerooney so I'm thinking yeah, probably is him. Could be another wayne rooney? Maybe a mispell? Nah I'm going with the footballer Wayne Rooney.

Thirdly the tweet mentions a Nike site. Hmmmmmm. Wild guess, but I'm saying it's an Ad. For Nike.

Expect me to feature hugely in the next Sherlock Holmes adventure.

But the UK Advertising Standards Watchdog (sic) investigation found that the messages were "agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team". Case closed then. Wow! Imagine the high fives after discovering that. Go, Ad investigation team, Go!

They're saying in essence that there was nothing in the tweets to indicate they were Nike Ads and so that's a problem. The Nike web mention didn't give it away then? And for the first time they've banned a Twitter campaign.

How many complaints did they get you ponder? 1,000? 100,000? a 100? Nope, just the one.

There's talk too of forcing endorsing celebs to use the hashtag @ad instead. Which, if they read the rules of Twitter, would know that you can't do that - users own their own tweets and frankly, they can do what they like with them.

What we do have to do is to stop this intrusion into digital by jumped up civil servants who think they're the "watchdogs" of our very being. They've destroyed advertising in part and now they're looking for something else to do.

An endorsement of a brand by a celebrity is a perfectly acceptable way to promote your brand. Having them tweet something good about the brand is absolutely acceptable too.  

Mind you, how can you ban a Twitter campaign? Hmmmm interesting issue here of jurisdiction m'lud. I'd have thought anyway. 

Say Lady GaGa tweets about an alcohol brand from America?
Do we stand on the beaches and stop the tweets coming in?
Or collect all the phones of under 18's that day whilst the tweet passes?

Maybe we should ban Lady GaGa?

Now there's a thought.
Get the Advertising standards people on the case.
Get the investigation going.
And let's start banning digital Ads.

Tell you what, ban Wayne Rooney and now I'm with you.