ASA cites 2 reality stars for crypto adverts on Instagram stories

ASA stated the Gale twins couldn’t publish crypto ads “in the form complained about” again, but didn’t ban them from promoting digital assets in future ads.

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2 former reality stars get cited for bitcoin adverts on Instagram stories

ASA the independent advertising regulator of the United Kingdom upheld a complaint against former Love Island contestants Eve and Jessica Gale for trivializing cryptocurrency investment.

In a notice published on Wednesday, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated that the reality stars promoted cryptocurrency in a June Instagram story at the request of an influencer called Elizabeth O’Donell and upheld charges that the advertisement was “misleading” and “responsible”.

According to the commission, O’Donnell was not only providing trading advice for cryptocurrencies, as stated by the Gales, but also pushing investment in cryptocurrencies without highlighting the associated risks.

The ASA concluded that the advertisements were aimed at a general audience that was unlikely to have a specialized understanding of investing in crypto assets.

“In the absence of additional information to the contrary, we believed that consumers would read the overall impression from the advertisements as implying that investing in crypto assets was simple and risk-free, especially for customers with limited knowledge of crypto assets.”

Because the advertisements were not “prepared with a sense of responsibility,” they violated the U.K. Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion, and Direct Marketing, the regulator said.

It was also added that the Gales’ story failed to mention the possibility that cryptocurrency prices “could go down as well as up” and their largely unrelated status in the United Kingdom.

The ASA further stated that O’Donell and the Gales “took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or naivety” by omitting information on capital gains taxes owed on crypto income.

In its judgment, the ASA stated that Gales could not repost the crypto advertisements “in the form complained about,” but did not prohibit them from marketing digital assets in future social media promotions.

At the time of publication, Jessica and Eve Gale had more than 1.7 million Instagram followers.

Since 2021, the advertising authority in the United Kingdom has investigated and removed numerous crypto-related advertisements, including posters for cryptocurrency exchange Luno on the London Underground and on city buses for being misleading.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority issued new guidelines on August 1 to combat “misleading advertisements that encourage investing in high-risk products,” but crypto-related advertisements were excluded.