Anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers considered a celebrity by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has defined the social media following threshold one needs to pass to be defined as a ‘celebrity’ for the purposes of enforcing advertising rules – and that number is 30,000.

The regulator came to the decision after an Instagram user with 32,000 followers, ThisMamaLife, posted an ad for Phenergan Night Time sleeping tablets. Although they disclosed that the post was an ad at the beginning of its description, the ASA ruled that their follower count made them a celebrity, and thus banned from drug endorsements in the UK.

The ASA found Sarah Willox Knott (a mummy blogger), breached its rules when she promoted an over-the-counter sleeping sedative, as the size of her Instagram following classified her as a “celebrity”.

The Telegraph dabbed this ruling as the first of its kind, where a social media ‘influencer’ has fallen foul of regulations banning celebrities or health professionals from endorsing medical products.

“We noted Sanofi’s argument regarding the comparatively low number of followers ThisMamaLife had in contrast to notable celebrities,” the ASA said in its ruling, “However, we considered that over 30,000 followers indicated that she had the attention of a significant number of people. Given that she was popular with, and had the attention of a large audience, we considered that ThisMamaLife was a celebrity for the purposes of the CAP Code.”

What does it mean for influencers? A whole new level of accountability, for sure.