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Molly Mae Pretty Little Thing Instagram post not identifiable as an advert

Subject: Marketing and advertising regulation/Advertising codes

Source: Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)


An Instagram post on Molly Mae Hague’s page featured an image of her wearing a coat, with the caption below the image ‘A/W, I’m ready [brown leaf emoji]’. The official Instagram account for Pretty Little Thing, @prettylittlething, was also tagged in the image. A complainant challenged whether the post was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication,

Defence Ltd confirmed that Ms Hague was a brand ambassador for Pretty Little Thing (PLT). Her contract stipulated that any advertising services for PLT had to be obviously identifiable to the consumer. The post was an ‘organic’ feed post, and was not part of their contractual agreement and was outside its scope.  Ms Hague had made the post because she liked the outfit and had therefore tagged @prettylittlething.

ASA ruling

Ms Hague identified herself as the PLT Brand Ambassador in her Instagram bio. PLT had argued that the post complained about was not advertising because it did not arise from Ms Hague’s contractual obligations as a brand ambassador. However it did not provide a copy of their contract with Ms Hague so the ASA was unable to make a full assessment of the nature and limits of her obligations under that agreement.

Because Ms Hague had a financial relationship with PLT as their brand ambassador and the post featured her wearing a PLT product which was also tagged to PLT’s Instagram account, the ASA considered that PLT had a level of control of the post that was sufficient for it to fall within the remit of the CAP Code.

The post referred to Ms Hague’s being ready for ‘A/W’, which the ASA understood to be an abbreviation for an ‘Autumn/Winter’ fashion collection.

The ASA ruled that the post was therefore not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and as such breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4 (Recognition of marketing communications).


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