Buzzfeed and Dylon have had been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority over a recent advertorial that was insufficiently flagged as paid-for content.
The move marks the first time BuzzFeed has fallen foul of the UK advertising watchdog.
The ad for the clothes dye brand was styled as a typically comical BuzzFeed list, featuring photos and social media posts highlighting 14 ‘laundry fails’.
The logo for Dylon’s Colour Catcher product also appeared prominently, along with a live feed from the brand’s Facebook page.
The article featured photos and social media posts, including a live feed from Dylon’s Colour Catcher Facebook page, highlighting laundry disasters.
At the bottom of the piece ran the line “It’s at times like these we are thankful that Dylon Colour Catcher is there to save us from ourselves. You lose, little red sock!”
But the ASA decided after consideration that the item was misleading because visitors who arrived via routes other than the website’s clearly marked homepage and search function might not realise they were reading advertising copy.
The regulator also noted the page was very long, meaning Buzzfeed readers would not have seen the reference to Dylon Colour Catcher at the foot until after they had engaged with the content.
The ASA said the article must no longer appear online in its original form. Dylon owner Henkel Ltd and BuzzFeed UK Ltd were instructed to ensure future promoted content was easily identifiable as marketing communications.
“BuzzFeed has worked with numerous brands to publish high quality branded content,” said Claudia Jungmann, brand manager at Henkel. “The site has advised us that it has contacted the ASA to further discuss this decision and to work with it to develop and implement best practice.”
Buzzfeed added: “We’re always testing and iterating our ad products, and will be reviewing the guidelines accordingly.”