Mrs Hinch Instagram posts banned by watchdog over lack of ‘ad’ labels for own products
The advertising watchdog said the commercial intent of the posts were “ambiguous”
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Instagram posts by household cleaning influencer Mrs Hinch have been banned.
The move comes after the advertising watchdog ruled the commercial intent of her posts were “ambiguous” and failed to make clear to her followers that she was advertising her own products.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it would have expected the posts to have included a prominent label identifying it as an advert.
Sophie Hinchliffe, whose Mrs Hinch Instagram account has amassed 4.6 million followers, posted a story on 7 January last year featuring a notebook filled with writing and the text: “If you’re a little mad like me tap here for yours.”
Clicking the link on the story took users to the relevant product page on the Amazon website. The video ended with the front cover of the notebook which read “Mrs Hinch Life in Lists”, while Hinchliffe stated: “In my own notebook of course.”
The post resulted in 34 complaints that it was not obviously identifiable as an ad for Hinchliffe’s own notebook.
Hinchliffe confirmed that she believed it was clear the post was an ad and that it was her own product she was promoting. She said the notebook was of her own design and was still available to buy in several retailers.
She said she would be happy to include “ad” within future social media posts that included links to her own products in future.
The ASA said that the line “Mrs Hinch Life in Lists”, and her statement that it was “In my own notebook of course”, only appeared at the end of the ad which they considered was “not immediately clear as to Ms Hinchliffe’s commercial relationship with the notebook.” It ruled the ad must not appear again.
Which other posts have been banned?
The ASA also banned another Instagram post from Hinchliffe on 27 January last year where she featured heart-shaped bowls of varying sizes and the text: “On a right roll here. Even put some ‘nibbles’ (In my own hinch heart bowls, I love em) #hinchxtesco.”
Viewers again complained that she had not been clear that she was advertising her own product line.
Tesco said it did not have any control over the ads and therefore did not consider them to be from or related to the supermarket.
Both Hinchliffe and Tesco confirmed that she had received royalties for the products that formed part of her range but that the ad did not form part of their agreement, which expired on 1 November 2021.
Hinchliffe said the ad was created “organically” and not as part of any obligation to market the products.
Hinchliffe again said she would include an “ad” label in future when showing products she had designed. She added she would continue to do so for up to 12 months after the products had been available to buy.
The ASA said: “Whilst that text may have given some indication to consumers that Ms Hinchliffe had been involved in designing the bowls, it was not explicitly made clear, and we considered that it was also not clear that she received royalties from their sale. We also understood that the ad was similar in style to non-ad content created by Sophie Hinchliffe who, as a home cleaning influencer, often shared lifestyle tips on Instagram.
“As such, we considered that it needed to be made explicitly clear when content such as this, where she offered advice to her followers, was linked to a commercial deal that benefited her financially.” It ruled that the ad must not appear again.