ASA cautions video bloggers over paid content

In print, ads are usually clear. Picture: Martin Abegglen via Flickr

The UK regulator for advertising, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a warning to video bloggers who fail to declare they are running paid-for content.

The ASA adjudication covers five videos published on YouTube, featuring Oreo cookies and a “lick race” stunt. Mondelez UK Ltd, which makes the cookies in the UK, paid give bloggers to produce and publish the videos. The ASA determined that, although the videos did acknowledge Oreos, they were “marketing communications”. This fact was not identified clearly enough in the footage.

The ASA also noted that the video bloggers had produced the clips in formats similar to their other video posts, and that this made it hard for consumers to distinguish the content as commercial; the clips were not distinct in style in a way that would mark them out as advertising.

The on-screen acknowledgements, which appeared at the end of the clips, “did not clearly indicate that there was a commercial relationship between the advertiser and the vloggers (ie that the advertiser had paid for and had editorial control over the videos)”, wrote the ASA. The ASA pointed out that disclosures about the commercial nature of the videos should have appeared at the start, or “before consumer engagement with the material”.

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