A Twitter advertising campaign organized by Nike has become the first to be banned in the UK.
Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere – both of whom are sponsored by the sports brand – recently tweeted links and hashtags promoting the Make It Count creative.
The first, from the Manchester United forward, read:
"My resolution — to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion...#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount".
This was followed by this from the Arsenal midfielder:
"Jack Wilshere stated "In 2012, I will come back for my club — and be ready for my country.#makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount".
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the Nike branding itself was not immediately obvious, meaning that followers of the pair could easily be led into believing they were legitimate tweets even though “the final content of the tweets was agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team".
"We considered that the Nike reference was not prominent and could be missed," the ASA ruled. "We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications.
"In the absence of such an indication, for example #ad, we considered the tweets were not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications and therefore concluded they breached the [advertising] code. The ads must no longer appear. We told Nike to ensure that its advertising was obviously identifiable as such".
In March Snickers was embroiled in a similar controversy involving Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and model Katie Price.