The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has cleared Mars, the parent company of Snickers, of breaking advertising rules with a Twitter campaign involving Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand - the first ruling by the ad watchdog regarding the microblogging site.
In January earlier this year, ASA launched a hearing after receiving two complaints regarding the tweets, the first time ever the watchdog has investigated posts on the social network.
Mars paid the celebrities to tweet a series of uncharacteristic posts involving the economy and knitting before a final tweet was posted promoting Snickers and a picture of the celebrity holding the chocolate bar.
Glamour model Kate Price tweeted: “Great news about China's latest GDP figures!!”
“Chinese leaders are now likely to loosen monetary policy to stimulate growth. Yay!!”
“OMG!! Eurozone debt problems can only properly be solved by true fiscal union!!! #comeonguys”
“Large scale quantitative easing in 2012 could distort liquidity of govt. bond market. #justsayin.”
The final tweet, posted with the picture, said: “You're not you when you're hungry @snickersUK #hungry #spon”
Footballer Rio Ferdinand posted similarly unlikely tweets regarding knitting before also posting the same final tweet, accompanied by a picture of him holding a bar of Snickers.
The complaints argued that the ‘teaser’ tweets preceding the final tweet were not clearly marked as sponsored. The ASA also examined if the hashtag #spon was clear enough to indicate that it was a sponsored tweet.
The advertising agency ruled that although the first four tweets were not marked as part of the campaign, the fifth tweet was so clearly marked that the campaign was “acceptable”.
The ASA said: “We considered the combination of those elements was sufficient to make clear the tweets were advertising, and that consumers would then understand each series of tweets was a marketing communication.”