Global Brands has come under fire for breaking advertising rules in a TikTok campaign with influencer Charly Anne Collard.

The Advertising Standards Authority said today that a campaign for the company’s Corky’s schnapps brand broke rules around being properly tagged, as well as responsible drinking.

The main TikTok post in question was one created by Collard outside of her contract with Corky’s. The post showed people drinking Corky’s straight from the bottle, and featured people under 25.

The ASA assessed whether the TikTok post should have been tagged as an ad.

“We acknowledged that Ms Collard had been contracted for two posts featuring the Corky’s brand on TikTok and that the complained about video was not produced as part of that agreement,” the ASA said. “However, because Ms Collard had been paid to promote the Corky’s brand in other videos and because Ms Collard said in the complained about video they had been given vouchers to order food, a party bus and two bottles of vodka when they were in the nightclub, we therefore considered this constituted payment to Ms Collard.”

The watchdog also considered whether Global Brands had editorial control over the post.

“We noted the complained about post contained several scenes which used the same footage as the paid-for post published on 19 May, which had received sign-off from Global Brands. The contract also included a clause that required Ms Collard not to make any negative or derogatory comments towards Global Brands and that Global Brands retained the right to have Ms Collard remove derogatory comments if requested. We therefore considered Global Brands had a degree of editorial control over the post.”

As a result of the findings, the ASA deemed the content to be an ad. The watchdog also said the content could have been available to under-18s.

TikTok told ASA that the video appeared on their platform as user-generated content rather than a paid ad and was not controlled. They said the promotion of alcohol was prohibited on their platform and that upon being notified of the complaint, they made the video unavailable to users in the EEA and UK because it violated their terms of service. According to the ASA, TikTok said “had the creator engaged with TikTok’s disclosure tool as required by their terms of service, it would not have been permitted to be posted organically because the promotion of alcohol was prohibited under their branded content policy”.

A spokesperson for Global Brands said that as a code signatory of the Portman Group, the company takes its role in the responsible marketing of alcohol products “very seriously”, and any complaints are “thoroughly reviewed”. 

  “Global Brands consider the video in question separate to the briefed posts as discussed within the contractual agreement with the influencer. This was not an advertisement for Corky’s. We had no editorial oversight of this video content, nor were we aware that the content creator was making use of footage containing our products in this way. The video which this complaint relates to was not part of the two videos in our contracted agreement with the influencer. 

“The two videos contracted with the influencer received no complaints, and strictly adhere to all relevant guidelines. We are disappointed with the ASA ruling, as the recommendation states ‘the complained about video was not produced as part of that agreement’. We do not see the use of products supplied for the two contracted videos in a separate video as any form of payment.” 

The watchdog said the same piece of content must not appear again.

“We told Global Brands Ltd and Charly Anne Collard to ensure their ads were obviously identifiable as such, for example by including a clear and prominent identifier, such as “ad”. We also told them to ensure that ads for alcohol did not encourage excessive drinking or unwise drinking styles and to ensure alcohol was not featured being handled or served irresponsibly. We also told Global Brands and Ms Collard to ensure that ads were appropriately targeted and that ads for alcohol did not feature individuals who were, or seemed to be, under 25 years of age.”