The sports brand was hauled up in front of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after footballers Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere did not make it clear that posts on their personal Twitter pages were adverts for the company.
The pair have a sponsorship contract, which sees them promoting various campaigns with the brand.
The Twitter campaign in question however was part of a wider marketing push under the Make It Count advertising strapline
Wayne Rooney posted “My resolution – to start the year as a champion and finish it as a champion … #makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount” to his 4.37 million followers, while a tweet from Wilshere said: “Jack Wilshere stated in 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country.#makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount”.
The ASA decided to step in after a member of the public challenged whether both tweets were obviously identifiable as marketing communications.
“We understood that, as part of their sponsorship deal with Nike, the footballers were required to take part in marketing activities and that both were asked to submit their own ideas as to what to write as part of their tweet,” it said.
“We understood that the tweet’s final content was agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team.
However, it added that it had “considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications.
It ruled that in the absence of such an indication, for example #ad, it considered the tweets were not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications and therefore concluded they breached the code.
It has now banned any repeat of the tweets in their current form and it has put Nike on notice, ordering that it must ensure any advertising on Twitter is clearly identified.
In its defence, Nike said the use of the company’s name in the tweets should have been sufficient to alert people who follow Rooney and Wilshere that they were commercial messages. Yeah, right.