Sponsorship and incentives

Guidelines for Social Media Practitioners

 
 
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Who should read these guidelines?

You should read these guidelines if you are a social media practitioner, who has been seeded with product, received a sponsorship payment, received any free event tickets, travel benefits, has been incentivized/rewarded in another way has or has an ongoing relationship with SIEE (“PlayStation”).

Why are these guidelines important?

These guidelines will help to ensure that you and SIEE comply with certain laws and regulatory guidelines when you create social media assets that are related to SIEE products and services. SIEE firmly believes that consumers should be informed when a social media practitioner has a relationship with SIEE even if that practitioner is writing about his/her personal experience with an SIEE product or service.

There exists a regulatory obligation on all social media practitioners who have received any payments, products, free or reduced event tickets, travel benefits or any other incentive, disclose this information in his/her social media content.  SIEE requires that all social media practitioners who work with SIEE comply with all applicable regulations fully.

Examples where these guidelines apply

These guidelines apply to any situation in which you post social media content describing, endorsing, promoting, or mentioning any SIEE product, service, or event and you have an affiliation or have received anything from SIEE that is not readily available to the public.  

Talk to your SIEE representative if you have questions.

Social Media Practitioner Guidelines

Be transparent: SIEE demands transparency about your identity and relationship to SIEE. We are committed to ensuring that our sponsored social media practitioners (including blogs, vlogs, microblogs, forums, and any other social media) clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationship to SIEE, including incentives and sponsorship.

The nature of the relationship between you and SIEE in relation to the creation of each piece of content will determine how this needs to be disclosed.  Certain content needs to be labelled upfront; in other circumstances, different ways of disclosing the relationship may be sufficient.

Adverts: If the content is fully or partly controlled SIE (not by you), and is produced in exchange for payment (which could be a monetary payment or free items, services (trips, tickets etc.) then it is an advertisement and must be labelled as “Ad” or “Advert”. 

 

When the content is in your usual style but SIE has some or complete editorial control and you have received money or something else, the content must “Advertisement feature” or “Advertorial”.

In the above scenarios, just labelling content “Supported by”, “Funded by” “Thanks to PlayStation for making this possible” or similar are not enough.

Sponsorship: If SIE pays you to create content but has no control at all over the content, then it should be labelled as “Sponsored”.

The label needs to be visible on all devices (including mobile) before opening/playing/engaging with the content.  The title/heading is the best place as that means it appears in the thumbnail.

Facebook:  The label should in most circumstances be at the beginning of the post.

Instagram: The label should be included on the image itself so that the nature of the content is clear before consumers engage with the post by clicking on the image.

YouTube: The label should be at the start of the title.

Twitter:  As space is limited, “Ad” or similar is likely to be the clearest way of identifying it as advertising. 

Pinterest: Place “Ad” at the beginning of the free text ‘Description’.

NB: Failure to put the label in the correct place may mean that the content will be treated as if the label was not included at all and therefore that the content breaches the rules.

Free items:  When SIE send sends you items free without any control of the content eg whether it is reviewed positively, negatively or not at all and there is no review/approval of the content by SIE then it may be acceptable for you to just clearly acknowledge that the item has been supplied free of charge by SIE.  If there is any editorial control by SIE, the content is an advert and must be labelled as such.

Product placement:  If SIE has paid you to use a product in some content, for example a particular peripheral in a play through, then if SIE has no editorial control over the play through, then you still need to clearly identify that the peripheral is featured as a result of an agreement with SIE, for example by stating this or by having a prominent onscreen disclaimer (“Product Placement” or “Advert”) when you are discussing the peripheral.

Be specific: Do not make general claims about SIEE products, events or services, but talk specifically about what you experienced.

Be accurate:  If you mention objective facts (for example performance stats for a console, the resolution or number of levels/modes in a game, or the compatibility of a peripheral) do make sure that the information is accurate by checking it against an SIE source and keep records of this.   You need to be able to provide substantiation for any objective facts you include in your content.

Be yourself: We encourage you to write in the first person and stick to your area of expertise as it relates to SIEE.

Be conscientious: Keep in mind that what you write is your responsibility and failure to abide by these guidelines could put your SIEE sponsorship or incentive at risk. Also please always follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites in which you participate.

Other Resources

The guidance links below relate to the UK.  However, they will be helpful in other markets as a starting point, with the caveat that the precise requirements will vary and you must ensure that you have a complete understanding of the local requirements. The regulatory authorities in your market may publish similar resources and the law firm which advises you in relation to marketing matters will be able to assist where required.

If you have any questions regarding any SIEE Social Media Guidelines, please contact your SIEE Point of Contact.