Debate: Ad Labeling: This Is Discrimination!

Debate: Ad Labeling: This Is Discrimination!

Should every photo of me be branded because I got a sponsored haircut five weeks ago?


iconThis is the facts. The facts express the writer’s position. You can send logs and discussion posts to [email protected].

Emily Neering, Influencers.

It’s just before the last slope. Our man, Peter Northug, is just one ski distance ahead of Swede Marcus Hellner and German Tobias Angerer. With each broad pole vault, Northug moves one and a half meters forward.

We stand on our tiptoes in front of the TV screen and cheer.

Then the text appears on the screen, in clear letters, so there should be no doubt:

An advertisement for Swix.

Advertising for life.

Advertisement for Alpina company.

Advertisement for Leroy.

Advertisement for Red Bull.

Advertisement for Fisher.

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It was a bit boring because we couldn’t catch the final race, but thank God we didn’t feel like buying new cross-country skis, not knowing that the skis were backed up!

This scenario is of course on the table. But this is the reality if TV were to use the same type of advertising classification as the Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority requires of influencers.

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Today, completely different rules apply to content posted on Instagram and content shown on TV.

Norwegian Consumer Authority Instagram, the Norwegian media authority, sets the rules for YouTube and TV. The rules are to prevent hidden ads, and this is important.

But why do they mean different things about what constitutes hidden advertising?

On TV and YouTube, a lowercase P continues in the top corner for five seconds until consumers are notified that there will be an ad during the broadcast.

On Instagram, the Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority is now talking about introducing a “double mark” on posts.

The guidelines already set by the Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority differ fundamentally from the regulations to which the rest of the world applies, specifically Instagram’s own regulations regarding labeling of ads.

Instagram requires that you tag the post at the top, before you see the photo, with information that the photo is a paid partnership.

Not unlike regulations for the television industry.

The Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority chose to ignore this. They’re demanding that the text under the image start with “Ad” — and now they want the text to also state all the elements in the image that could give you an “advantage,” regardless of whether you’re encouraging sales or getting paid for that specific post.

What is an “advantage” becomes a personal interpretation on their part.

I fear that the irrational and growing respect for the consumer not only leads to the disdain of the audience, but also stifles the influencer’s credibility and creative scope.

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I support labeling. But I am against discrimination.

The Norwegian Consumer Protection Agency, and most people, mostly consider only girls who engage in the “lifestyle” to be influencers. Actors, artists, hoteliers and athletes with large Instagram profiles are clearly outside the rules.

Do you think it’s unfair that influencers have to label “everything” as advertising?

It is important to remember that these are also “influencers.”

In other words, people with powerful influence, who share their ordinary lives and advertise things that make them profitable.

A post about Julie Bergan’s new song, Aksel Hennie’s new movie, the latest hotel in Peter Stordalen’s chain, or the new skis of our ski stars all contribute to giving the main character an increased income base.

I know I’m working against the odds when I try to speak on behalf of influential people. But aren’t we all meant to live in a just society where the rules of the game apply to everyone?

Being an influencer has become more than just a hobby.

We are content producers, communicators, photographers, writers, freelancers, and we create our own jobs. We keep talking about the need to attract more women entrepreneurs, so let’s make that happen too.

Instagram is perhaps the only arena in Norway that has a higher density of female entrepreneurs than men.

It is important for me to stress that I am not against advertising labeling. For 13 years, I have kept up with the Norwegian Consumer Authority’s guidelines and thought about the importance of regulations for both consumers and industry.

My impression is that double labeling would work against its purpose.

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If everything that at one time or another contributed to increased income or benefits was classified by advertising, the effect of the classification would eventually be diluted.

Practically speaking, almost every photo an influencer shares should be tagged with ads. Should all photos in which Erling Braut Håland wear the Nike logo also be tagged as advertising?

Should Julie Bergan tag all posts about her writing new songs with ads, because music is her source of income?

Should Peter Stordalen mark all records relating to the opening of new hotels with advertisements?

Should every photo of me be branded because I got a sponsored haircut five weeks ago?

I hope that the Norwegian Consumer Protection Agency and the Media Protection Agency can have coffee and come up with a consistent set of regulations that are not discriminatory.

In the meantime I can only add the following:

Advertising: Emily Foy-Nering is a Norwegian influencer, writer, and food analyst. By reading this post, you risk gaining sympathy for her point of view, contributing more followers, and perhaps increasing sales of her latest children’s book.


Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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