BBC comes under pressure to sack Radio 5 Live presenter Sam Quek after she repeatedly breached advertising rules by promoting gambling firm without declaring she was being paid by them
- Sam Quek, 31, was warned about her promotional tweets last year by the ASA
- But she tweeted again this year, prompting the watchdog to tick her off again
- Now says she will face a formal investigation if she breaks the rules a third time
- Alex Macey of campaign group Gamvisory said: ‘She should resign or be sacked’
The BBC was under pressure last night to sack a presenter who has been promoting a gambling firm without stating that she has a commercial relationship with the company.
Sam Quek, 31, who hosts 606, Radio 5 Live’s football phone-in, was warned that she was breaking advertising rules but she continued promoting Footie5 on Twitter to her 175,000 followers.
The Olympic hockey gold medallist – who took part in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2016 – regularly posted about the company’s weekly prediction game in 2019 with a link to its website.
Sam Quek, 31, an Olympic hockey gold medallists who hosts football phone in 606, continued to post tweets about Footie 5 to her 175,000 followers even after being told she was breaking advertising rules. She is pictured in an advert posted on September 19, 2019
But despite being warned by the Advertising Standards Authority, she continued to promote the firm without declaring the posts as ads.
She was reported again and the breach was settled after she agreed to take the post down, although others remained online yesterday. If she breaks the rules for a third time, the ASA said she would likely face an investigation.
Carolyn Harris, of the all-party parliamentary group for gambling, said: ‘I would have hoped that a professional sports person would have been far more responsible. She should consider her position at the BBC carefully.’
Alex Macey, of campaign group Gamvisory, said: ‘To continue posting about a gambling company without clearly saying that it is sponsored is wrong…
‘She should resign or be sacked.’ Jermaine Jenas, a Match of the Day pundit and fellow Footie5 ambassador, has also posted about the firm without declaring them as ads but no complaints have been made.
Blogger Alex May spotted the posts and informed the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which sent Quek an ‘advice note’ warning that she had to include the word ‘ad’ in paid-for posts, reported The Times.
But earlier this year she appeared to ignore the instruction and tweeted again about Footie5 without flagging it as an advert, prompting the ASA to contact her for a second time.
That tweet appears to have been deleted but others are still live.
Mr May said: ‘As a BBC sport presenter, it’s disappointing Ms Quek is advertising gambling in the first place. It’s even worse to do it in an underhand fashion, one that misleads the public.’
The broadcaster, who appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2016, began posting about the weekly prediction game in 2019
Blogger Alex May spotted the posts and informed the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which sent Quek an ‘advice note’ warning that she had to include the word ‘ad’ in paid-for posts
This post on November 16, 2019 included Quek’s ‘picks’ for football internationals, and included a mention of the gambling company
The ASA’s Matthew Wilson said Quek would face a formal investigation if she broke the rules for a third time.
Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) publicly named 16 celebrities it accused of breaking the rules, including Alexa Chung, Rita Ora, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Ellie Goulding.
The CMA made an order for stars to be more transparent over their endorsement deals when posting to social media.
If social media users do not clearly declare if they have been paid or received products as gifts they endorse, they could be in breach of consumer protection law.
Posts containing advertising must, by law, be flagged with the hashtag #ad, #sponsored or #freebie in a ‘prominent’ position on each individual post.
All content that includes adverts or discount codes and provides a form of payment, whether monetary or in the shape of free gifts, must also be declared.
Online endorsements from celebrities and influencers can help boost brand sales through exposure to their millions of followers.
The BBC said: ‘Sam is a freelance broadcaster. While working in a BBC capacity, she adheres to our guidelines.’ Miss Quek’s agent has been contacted for comment.
McMafia’s James Norton and Line of Duty’s Martin Compston among celebs being investigated by advertising watchdog for posing in luxury Audis on Instagram WITHOUT telling fans they were freebies
By Katie Hind for the Mail On Sunday
Cruising along clear roads, posing in beauty spots and heading to a party weekend at Glastonbury, some of Britain’s top actors love taking to Instagram to flash their expensive cars.
But what many of them did not tell their fans is that they were lent the high-end Audi vehicles for free, in violation of advertising rules.
The industry watchdog is now examining the social media posts of ten actors following the results of a Mail on Sunday investigation.
Actors including McMafia star James Norton, Line of Duty’s Martin Compston and The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby were gifted the use of the cars before posting the images, all with the four-ring logo of the car maker, known for its Vorsprung Durch Technik’ slogan, in clear view.
James Norton poses in his Audi vehicle in a post that is not labelled as paid content
It is prohibited to post sponsored content without disclosing it, and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) say ‘influencers’ should come clean about any financial arrangements.
A benefit in kind such as free use of a car could also land them in hot water with the taxman if they did not declare it.
Last May, 34-year-old Mr Norton took a selfie with a teddy bear in a loaned Audi, and wrote: ‘Driving with this fancy Dan (the teddy) to see my new nephew. Thank you @audi for getting us there safely and swiftly @tonyameli [a marketing expert who ‘connects brands and talent’] @audiuk #bearwithme.’
X-Men actor James McAvoy, and Douglas Booth, who starred in the BBC adaptation of Great Expectations, have also uploaded similar images of Audis to social media.
Martin Compston posted this image of him with his Audi on his instagram page
Gugu Mbatha-Raw posted this image on her instagram page, the Audi logo clearly visible
Mr Booth, 27, posed on the bonnet of a £50,000 Audi A7 in January, writing: ‘A perfect weekend away… Thank you @audiuk and @tonyameli for the equally perfect @audi #A7. It drives like a dream and, luckily, can also fit in enough supplies for 40 pals!’
Last June, he posted a photo of a different Audi that he had driven to the Glastonbury festival, saying: ‘We’ve arrived! Thank you so much @audiuk @tonyameli for getting us here in one piece! Let’s go dancing.’
Following controversy about the transparency of online celebrity endorsements two years ago, the ASA said stars should ‘make clear when it’s advertising or has a commercial message. Ultimately, if it’s not obvious… a clear and prominent disclosure is needed’.
They also tell influencers to be ‘upfront’ if any free gifts are given in exchange for exposure – advising that merely thanking a brand is not a clear enough explanation.
Ellie Bamber posted this image of her driving an Audi car on her instagram page
This weekend, the ASA said it would be examining the social media posts of ten actors, also including Ellie Bamber, who starred in The Trial of Christine Keeler; Gugu Mbatha-Raw, 36, the star of Miss World movie Misbehaviour, Outlanders’ Sam Heughan, Lucifer’s Tom Ellis and Sam Claflin from the Hunger Games and Peaky Blinders.
HM Revenue & Customs said any benefits in kind should be declared on tax returns. A spokesman said: ‘There are no special rules for those walking the red carpet.’
Last night an Audi spokesman said: ‘Audi works with various ambassadors and we will remind them of the need for #ad to be included in social posts relating to the brand.’
Douglas Booth posted this image of him posing with an Audi on his Instagram
James McAvoy posted this image of his Audi on his instagram page
After this newspaper contacted representatives of all the celebrities mentioned, the ‘#ad’ hashtag was added to Audi posts from Mr Booth, Mr Ellis and Ms Kirby.
The others did not respond.
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