Advertising law advice for contestants facing sudden post-Love Island fame

Contestants on popular reality TV series Love Island are to be issued with a “survival guide” checklist to ensure they do not breach advertising guidelines on social media when they leave the villa as celebrities.

Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer, last year's winners

Watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has created the guide to remind contestants that they have to adhere to the same rules as other celebrities or “influencers” once they have left the show.

Current laws mean that if someone is paid by a company to post something in social media, they are considered to be advertising and should label such a post clearly as an ad. Both the ASA and the Competition and Markets Authority recommend upfront disclosures such as #ad, while the rules apply equally online and to social media including paid-for posts by influencers and celebrities.

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The ASA warned that given the popularity and success of Love Island, many brands and companies may look to enter into commercial partnerships with contestants as a quick and effective way of reaching and promoting directly to their social media followers.

Contestants such as glamour model Megan Barton-Hanson and former boyfriend Wes Anderson have appeared on other TV series as a result of their fame on the show, earning thousands of followers on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Our checklist is a quick and effective way of helping Love Islanders ensure their social media posts stick to the rules and avoid misleading their followers. Our message is simple: make sure you’re upfront and clear when you’re being paid to post.”

On top of providing the checklist, the ASA will work with ITV, as part of the channel’s duty of care commitments to contestants, to signpost more detailed guidance and to make available its advice and training resources. The broadcaster has come under fire in recent months after fears over contestents’ mental health after being propelled into the spotlight after leaving the

Love Island villa. The show has been overshadowed by the deaths of two former contestants: Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

The ASA will also be contacting the talent agencies that represent contestants to make them fully aware of the advertising rules and their responsibilities in helping their clients.

Earlier this year, an ASA ruling against a lifestyle blogger who posted a sponsored image to Instagram featuring an antihistamine without declaring it as advertising content, stated that a following of 30,000 people on social media meant the influencer qualified as a celebrity for the purpose of advertising law.