#Spon – Does it put you off?


We are constantly being advertised to – so much so that it’s often hard to see the difference between a genuine opinion and a paid endorsement. On Instagram, for example, users can use “#spon” – standing for “sponsorship” to show that they have been paid to post a certain picture that includes a product. Emotional Logic conducted an experiment on Instagram advertisements to see if celebrities openly advertising products puts them off.

We split a cohort of participants into two groups and showed them the same Instagram posts by a couple of British celebrities of well known reality TV shows. The only difference: one of the groups was shown a post with the word “#spon” – the other group wasn’t.

We found that males were more likely to rate the celebs as untrustworthy if they stated sponsorship (91% voted this, compared to 82% when no hashtag was used). However, females more likely to rate people as untrustworthy if they don’t include “#spon” (100% voted this, compared to 55% when a hashtag was used). Females, generally, are less likely to be interested in the product AND more likely to be specifically disinterested.

Females are more likely to dislike a celebrity that doesn’t state a sponsorship (57% voted this, compared to 37% when a hashtag was used). In contrast, males are more likely to dislike someone who include “#spon” in their posts (55% voted this, compared to 36% when no hashtag was used).

The results show that males appear to be more suspicious and judgmental of celebrities openly advertising products on social media. Females appear to be more sceptical if no ad is being referenced; they seem to appreciate the apparent honesty of the “#spon” more. On these lines, females also appeared to notice the hashtag more.

Overall, seeing the “#spon” makes people less interested in a product (62% people) and dislike the person that’s doing it (33%). For more information on drivers of consumer behaviour, contact us today for more information.