New FTC Guides Impact Use of Social Media for Companies and Athlete Endorsers, pp. 59-62
In 2012, Nike became the first company in the United Kingdom to have a Twitter campaign banned after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the U.K.’s equivalent of the United States’ Federal Trade Commission, held that soccer star Wayne Rooney had violated rules for clearly communicating to the public that his tweets were advertisements for Nike (Furness, 2012). Nike, through its endorsement deal with Rooney, encouraged Rooney to engage in Twitter messaging as part of its wider “Make It Count” advertising campaign. Rooney’s tweet, which went out to his 4.37 million followers, said: “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/make it count.” As stated by the ASA, “We considered that the Nike reference was not prominent and could be missed. We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications” (Furness, 2012).