A tweet by Ozzy Osbourne showing him gaming on a Sony PlayStation VR2 has been banned for failing to mention that it was an ad.
The tweet from Osbourne’s account in February read: “Did this spot with @PlayStation team. We had a lot of fun. Their new VR2 is really amazing.”
The tweet included a video which began with a blue screen displaying the PlayStation logo before cutting to Osbourne in a living room taking a virtual reality headset and controllers out of a blue PlayStation box as his wife Sharon Osbourne told him that they needed to pack boxes and catch a flight to England.
Osbourne replied that he wanted to play on his PlayStation and was shown swearing at dinosaurs via a VR headset and controllers before the video ended with the text: “Play has no limits,” followed by the PlayStation logo.
Sony, which responded to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on both their and Osbourne’s behalf, said their agreement gave Osbourne’s management company final approval over the video’s script.
The tech giant confirmed that Osbourne was contracted to post a tweet sharing the video as part of the agreement, with Sony specifying only that Osbourne must share the video in a way which clearly disclosed that he had worked with Sony.
Addressing the tweet itself, Sony believed that the word “spot” in the text “Did this spot with the @PlayStation team” would be clearly understood by Twitter users to refer to an ad.
They also believed that the placement of the wording at the beginning of the tweet meant it was sufficiently prominent for consumers to understand the commercial nature of the video before they watched it.
The ASA said consumers should be made aware that a post was an ad before they engaged with it.
The watchdog said: “We acknowledged the positioning of that wording in the tweet was both prominent and visible before the video started playing.
“However, we considered the wording, including the use of the word spot to refer to the video, was not sufficient to clearly indicate to consumers that the tweet was part of a commercial relationship between Sony and Ozzy Osbourne and that the tweet was therefore an ad.”
It added: “Because the ad did not make clear its commercial intent upfront, we considered it was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and concluded that it breached the Code.”
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.