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YouTubers Asked To Label Paid-For Videos

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It all started when some YouTubers posted a 'Lick Race' Challenge video in June. These videos consisted of them trying to lick the middle part of Oreos as quickly as they could. Quite a light-hearted and fun video to make. However, no one realized this video had actually been paid for by Mondelez UK, who own Oreos.

It was only after BBC Newsround launched an investigation that they realised these Vloggers had been paid to say good things about Oreos, not having made it clear in the title and description of their video. The BBC journalist complained to the Advertisement Standards Authority (ASA) and they listened.

source: amandeleine.com

While some of the videos do 'thank Oreos for making this video possible' or state in the description that it is an 'advertisement', the ASA did not think they they had made it clear enough, and suggested the famous YouTubers were misleading their audience. In their official statement, they wrote: "Because the statements did not fully establish the commercial intent of the videos, and because no disclosures were made before consumer engagement with the material, we concluded that the ads were not obviously identifiable as marketing communications." As a result, all YouTubers will now have to make it very clear if their video has been paid for.

The ASA has finally made the rules a lot clearer. Before this ruling, viewers could never be sure whether their favourite YouTubers' videos had been sponsored or not. This led to a lot of people accusing YouTubers of being paid to mention products, whether they actually had or not. From now on though, videos that have been paid for must clearly state that this is the case, in the title or the description. Audiences, according to the ASA ruling, must clearly be able to see if the video is sponsored before they click on it. Unsurprisingly, the YouTubers involved aren't very happy.

source: lowyat.net

Some British YouTubers have enormous followings on all their social media accounts, similar to the most famous movie stars. Therefore, it makes sense why big brands would pay these people to promote their products. A very efficient way of reaching millions of young people across the globe. It does make sense why vloggers should specify their relationship with the brand beforehand, but is it really fair? Movie stars and musicians are paid so sponsor and advertise products in the same way as these YouTubers, but they're not forced into issuing a disclaimer.

The ASA ruling, ultimately, is a good thing. It not only makes the rules a lot clearer but also allows more transparency between YouTubers and their audience. It may deter some audiences from watching certain videos, but at the end of the day, viewers deserve to know the truth.

Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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YouTubers Asked To Label Paid-For Videos Reviewed by Laura Veit on Monday, December 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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