BAT - Surreptitious Advertising of Glo on Social Media
BAT- Surreptitious Advertising of Glo on Social Media, Ruling No. 29837, Italian Competition Authority (2021).
- Sep 30, 2021
- Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato)
Plaintiff National Consumer Union (Unione Nazionale Consumatori)
- British American Tobacco Italia S.p.A.
- Cecilia Rodriguez
- Stefano De Martino
- Stefano Sala
Regulation on preliminary investigation procedures concerning misleading and comparative advertising, unfair commercial practices, violation of consumer rights in contracts, violation of the prohibition of discrimination and unfair terms
Type of Litigation
Tobacco Control Topics
Any violation of a law designed to ensure fair trade, competition, or the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. For example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products—particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue.
Type of Tobacco Product
Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are tobacco products that require the use of an electronic device to heat a tobacco insert (stick or pod of compressed tobacco). HTP systems are fully integrated so that the heating device and tobacco insert for each system must be used together.
A consumer protection organization brought a complaint before the Italian Competition Authority alleging British American Tobacco Italia S.p.A. (BAT) and individual social media influencers violated the Consumer Code through Instagram posts promoting Glo Hyper, a heated tobacco product. The specific promotional practice at issue was a "call to action" where the influencers encouraged their followers to post content containing tags and hashtags related to Glo without asking them to also disclose the promotional nature of the posts. The influencers would then re-post the best user-generated content.
Ultimately, the regulatory authority declined to find an offense because both BAT and the influencers made certain commitments that the regulatory authority felt were sufficient to provide consumers with complete and accurate information going forward. These commitments by BAT included: (1) the adoption of Influencer Marketing Guidelines; (2) the addition of contractual provisions should BAT directly contract with influencers in the future; (3) the addition of contractual language if BAT contracts with influencers through an agency that would require the agency to monitor the influencers' activities and adherence to the Guidelines; (4) asking followers to include appropriate hashtags in any future calls to action; and (5) removal of the pages/posts that are subject to this dispute. The influencers agreed to: (1) remove the posts at issue; (2) use the appropriate hashtags in any future advertising and marketing activities; and (3) inform their followers that any user-generated content that doesn't contain the necessary tags or hashtags will not be considered in any contests.