Wayne Rooney tweet gets Nike ad campaign sent off

A Nike ad campaign has been banned by the ASA, for not making it clear that footballers' tweets were adverts.

A Nike Twitter ad campaign has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, for not making it clear that footballers' tweets were adverts, the Guardian reports.

Wayne Rooney, who is sponsored by Nike, tweeted at the start of the year, "My resolution - to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion... #makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount", while Arsenal player Jack Wilshere tweeted his own resolution, again including Nike's hashtag and a link to the shoe giant's online campaign.

The ASA says it received a complaint that it wasn't clear those tweets -- which came from the players' personal accounts -- were actually adverts. Nike defended its campaign, saying both players were well known for being sponsored by the flogger of fancy boots, so anyone reading the tweets would not be misled.

Nike also claimed both players were free to independently reply or retweet consumer tweets "at their own discretion".

The ASA says its investigation into the matter concluded that the content of the errant tweets was "agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team".

Bearing no 'sponsored' or 'ad' tags, the tweets were deemed to breach advertising code, and the campaign was banned. The decision comes long after the fact, but could act as a warning to other companies looking to draft celebs in to promote products through their personal accounts.

With Twitter used primarily for sharing links, it's important to know when a tweet has marketing cash behind it, or else genuine tweets risk being undermined. Yesterday Rooney tweeted his pre-match Spotify playlist, for example, but with no 'sponsored' tag, it's tough to know whether or not the potato-headed goalhanger was paid to reveal his love of, er, Deacon Blue.

How do you think ads should be handled on Twitter? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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