UK ads watchdog reprimands Nike, Rooney and Wilshere over tweets

20 Jun 2012

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The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency has reprimanded footballers Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere for using their personal Twitter accounts to promote their sponsor, Nike, and the company has now become the first UK company to have a Twitter campaign banned.

Complaints about the lack of clarity over whether or not the tweets were advertising were made to the agency, which ruled that the players’ tweets were not obviously identifiable as marketing on behalf of Nike and therefore breached the code.

The tweet by Rooney, who plays for Manchester United, is believed to have been crafted with Nike’s marketing team:

"My resolution – to start the year as a champion and finish it as a champion … #makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount".

Arsenal player Wilshere also tweeted a similar message and the same link:

"Jack Wilshere stated in 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country.#makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount".

Rooney and Wilshere have now been banned from repeating the tweets and Nike has been warned about ensuring all Twitter advertising is easily identifiable, The Telegraph reported.

Nike responded by saying Rooney and Wilshere were communicating only with those people who opted to follow them on the microblogging site and added it’s no secret who is sponsoring the players.

Tina held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto

editorial@siliconrepublic.com