Gogglebox and TikTok star George Baggs, 19, has vape advert banned due to his age | The Sun
GOGGLEBOX and TikTok star George Baggs has had a vape advert banned due to his age.
Investigators found the 19-year-old influencer broke advertising rules by promoting the e-cigarettes on social media while under the legal age to do so.
George, posted a video of nicotine e-cigarettes on TikTok, despite the legal age to promote vapes being 25.
Promoting nicotine e-cigarettes, that are not licenced as medicines, is banned from newspapers, magazines and online.
Watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, ruled that George broke advertising standards by promoting vapes and was banned from posting a clip of him holding one of the product's again.
The social media sensation was also warned not to use under 25s to advertise e-cigarettes.
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The clip was investigated and the ASA found the post breached the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing.
The watchdog found the influencer and e-cigarettes brand HQD Tech broke the advertising code by promoting the e-cigarettes and their components on TikTok.
And George also featured someone with an e-cigarette who is under 25 years of age.
The design of TikTok meant that even those who did not follow his account could have been exposed to the video, the ASA said.
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The video posted last June 23, showed the TV star walking towards the camera holding up a HQD WAVE disposable vape.
On-screen text alongside the footage read: "Matching my outfit with my new HQD [email protected]".
As the clip went on, George got dressed while vaping and the text underneath said: "Always get asked to do these sorta vids so here ya go 🙂 #HQDVIP #uk #trending."
As a result of the investigation the advert was taken down and is now banned from appearing again on social media.
In its ruling, the ASA said: "We told HQD Tech Ltd t/a HQD Tech UK and George Baggs that marketing communications with the direct or indirect effect of promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components which were not licensed as medicines should not be made from a public TikTok account.
"We also told HDQ Tech that if advertising in media permitted, they must not show people who are, or seem to be, under 25 years of age, using e-cigarettes or playing a significant role."
George is well known for featuring with his family on Channel 4's Gogglebox and amassed a following of 1.3 million on TikTok.
The agreement between Mr Baggs and HQD Tech stipulated the influencer would post about two new products on TikTok during a period of two months, between May 27 and July 30, 2022.
George's brief stated the content was to be shot by Mr Baggs and showcase his "vaping experience".
The focus was to be on the products' unique selling points such as flavours and numbers of puffs, working in line with the platform guidelines and to keep the post light and fun, the ASA said.
During the investigation the company HQD tech gave a copy of their contract with Mr Baggs and the official brief of his relationship with them.
HQD Tech said all agreed contracts were put in place between Mr Baggs and his management agency who signed off all content that he produced.
The contract included a clause for him to abide by the platform's paid product endorsement policies.
Requirements, known as 'do's and don'ts', in this agreement stated he was not to prompt non-smokers to trial the product.
He should also not to promote smoking generally, or the product as an alternative to cigarettes, and not to use any filters, the company said.
The report from the ASA stated: "They [HDQ Tech] did not believe he was encouraging viewers to try the product; there were no links to purchase the product, or information as to where the product could be purchased and the post did not mention the product type, price, instructions for use or flavours.
"They also said the ad was not targeting specific customers to try the product.
"HQD Tech said if consumers were to subsequently go on to their website, they would find factual information."
When the post became under investigation the company removed all content posted by George.
Investigators from the ASA said HQD Tech will enforce extra checks on all content from third parties and take extra steps to make sure younger audiences are not being targeted.
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In response to the investigation, the ASA report added: "TikTok said the video was user generated content and it did not appear in paid-for ad space, neither was it disclosed as branded content.
"They said that on being notified of the complaint, they had made the content unavailable to users in the UK as it was a breach of their Terms of Service, which prohibited the advertising of cigarettes and tobacco products [which included e-cigarettes]."
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