Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier promoted Supreme CBD to his followers and received commission from sales made using a personalised code

Former professional footballers Matt Le Tissier and John Hartson have been found guilty of breaking advertising rules after promoting the CBD brand Supreme CBD without revealing they were on its payroll.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it had investigated several posts on social media site X (formerly Twtitter) in which Le Tissier and Hartson extolled the virtues of products from Supreme CBD, founded by ex pro-boxer Anthony Fowler.

Hartson told his 400,000 followers that Supreme’s CBD gummy bears were “honestly magic” and that the brand was “changing peoples lives for the better”. He also claimed the products helped him sleep and could reduce anxiety.

Le Tissier, meanwhile, told his 650,000 followers that Supreme’s products were “a game changer for people with anxiety/depression any aches/pain or insomnia”.

Both Hartson and Le Tissier offered their followers a discount on Supreme’s products but did not disclose the former athletes were being paid by the brand.

In its response, Supreme CBD said it did not have a commercial relationship with Hartson, but admitted there was “a verbal agreement” by which the former Welsh international would “receive a small amount of commission from his codes, as well as some free products”.

Hartson said he had discovered Supreme CBD “in a personal capacity” but admitted he had subsequently become a brand ambassador.

He acknowledged the posts ought to have been labelled as ads, adding that he was no longer working with Supreme CBD.

Le Tissier also did not have a written contract with Supreme, but did receive a commission from his personalised code.

The ex-Southampton and England player said he would make clear which posts were ads in the future. The offending post, however, remains ‘pinned’ to his profile on X.

The UK marketing code, policed by the ASA, states posts must make clear their commercial nature, and not make the claim that products can “prevent, treat or cure disease”.

The watchdog also found a post by Fowler in breach of the code. He said the brand had been unaware posts had made medical claims and it would refrain from doing so in future.

“The ASA understood that there was a financial agreement in place between Supreme CBD and both Mr Hartson and Mr Le Tissier, and that they both received commission for sales generated from the use of their personalised codes by consumers,” the ASA said. “Those personalised codes were therefore directly connected with the supply of goods provided by Supreme CBD, and because of that [the] posts were considered ads.

“We told Supreme CBD, Anthony Fowler, John Hartson and Matt Le Tissier to ensure their future ads were obviously identifiable as marketing communications.

“We also told them to ensure their future ads did not state or imply that the products could prevent, treat or cure human disease.”

Supreme CBD has been approached for comment.