back to article YouTube bloggers told to slap 'advert' stickers on their vid posts

The UK's Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has told video bloggers (vloggers) on YouTube et al to admit when they are getting paid to shill a product. The CAP's new set of guidelines gives tips for the producers and stars of video blogs on how to disclose when they have been paid or stand to gain from endorsing a product …

  1. The Axe

    Numpties

    If viewers of a youtube vlogger's output can't tell when they are plugging a product then they deserve to be fleeced as they are stupid. It doesn't need a nannying state organisation to protect them. The org might be able to protect them in this case, but life is full of surprises and scammers and charlatons. Will such stupid people need protect by yet more state organisations. Or should they learn from their mistakes so that they can spot when they are having the wool pulled over their eyes themselves.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Numpties

      Why do you draw the line? Various territories have attempted to limit advertising for decades.

      Without state intervention, the situation you would have is basically this: A whole team of marketeers skilled in the dark arts of psychology Vs a naive individual. And if that individual is too young to have educated themselves about how advertising works, the situation is even more one sided.

      "In The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, [Vance] Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. He identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise products will fulfill. According to Packard these needs are so strong that people are compelled to buy products to satisfy them. The book also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques."

      1. Ralph B

        Re: Numpties

        > He identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise products will fulfill

        You've just exploited one of those eight "compelling needs" to get me to buy the book, haven't you?

        I feel so used.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Numpties

          This book has eight old weird tricks that make regulators angry...

      2. The Axe

        Re: Numpties

        @Dave126, the situation you describe would not occur. The more people are allowed to learn from their mistakes the more they won't be fooled the next time. By regulating advertising and protecting the consumer too much, the public aren't allowed to learn. So in effect, the smart people look at the regs, find the loopholes (because regulators are stupid too), and take advantage of them - till the regulators catch up and close that particular loophole. But tech & society changes so much and so fast that regulators are always playing a game of catch up.

        It might have been the case in the past with very little communication abilities amongst the population for scammers to take advantage of this lack of communication and go from place to place performing their scam each time. But with social media the public can quickly let everyone know about the scam which limits the ability of the scammers to go from place to place. They're left with a single attempt before they get found out and the public ignores them at worst or actively ostricies them. An ignored scam is a failed scam is a loss making scam.

        So yes, people will get hoodwinked, but the point is that they then learn to watch out for themselves rather than use the state as a crutch all the time and not think for themselves either. If people get lazy and just assume that the state is regulating then when advertisers (or any other body) fool them, they will assume it's perfectly OK but the regulators are looking after them - aren't they?

        It's plain human psychology. Look at it in the context of teaching a child. Do you watch everything they do like a helicopter parent or do you teach them the rules of life and let them learn from their mistakes. Or in the context of training a person up in a skill. Do you allow them to make mistakes and so learn more about the subject or do you get them to perform by rote the skill which doesn't cater for any variation in the environment or allow enhancements to be found.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Numpties

          So your anti-scam idea works except for the kids, the old, the mentally ill, the parents who don't have time to keep on top of all the latest scams, and probably a few more I've forgotten. So basically it would be perfect if the world were full of young single people who were mistrustful of everyone and are gifted with the ability to distinguish between a legit advert and an advert which looks legitimate but is full of lies.

          In the end, without regulation, what you get is lower consumption not higher consumption because nobody can believe anything.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Numpties

          @The Axe

          You are painting a rosy yet cynical picture in which children get conned over biscuits in order to 'inoculate' them against dodgy pension investments 40 years later.

          Yes, I take your point that we learn better from our mistakes. I for one have never gambled money as an adult because I once fed a fruit machine with Franc coins as a child, trying to win back the first Franc I lost.

          However, we as adults cannot be expert in all things. I am not a chemist or biologist, so I trust the 'nanny state' to protect me from any water company that would seek to cut corners in their purification processes. Even if I had that expertrise, i probably couldn't be arsed to test every glass I drink. Likewise, in a democracy it stands that if a majority of parents don't want chocolate to be advertised during children's television segments, then the wish of these parents should be expressed through the elected government.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >some bloggers were paid to post videos featuring Oreo cookies

    Most US crosswords feature 'OREO' as an answer fairly often.... I wonder if the clue setters get a free packet?

    Joking aside, due to the format of US crosswords the clue setter will often need a word like OREO for its vowels. And yep, the Shortyz crossword app is my chief phone-based time killer at the moment.

    My favourite biscuits are Sainsbury's Quadruple Belgian Chocolate All Butter Cookies. I have received no money from Sainsury's for this post.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      I have received no money from Sainsury's for this post.

      Your Cheque is in the Mail!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Sainsbury's Quadruple Belgian Chocolate All Butter Cookies"

      But not very useful as a crossword clue.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > Most US crosswords feature 'OREO' as an answer fairly often

      6D. Choreographer eats biscuit (4)

      1. TheProf
        Joke

        NICE? CLUB? TWIX? Come on, gimme a break here.

        1. jason 7

          I really miss Uniteds and Milk Chocolate Fruit Jaspers myself.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > NICE? CLUB? TWIX? Come on, gimme a break here.

          Have a break, have a kitkat.

          This comment brought to you by Rowntree's.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: > NICE? CLUB? TWIX? Come on, gimme a break here.

            "This comment brought to you by Rowntree's."

            Dude, you're showing your age! It's ages since Kit Kats were sold under the Rowntrees brand- nowadays they use the name of the Swiss baby milk pushers who took them over in the late 80s.

    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Mushroom

      I like the Summer Trifle Cookies which M&S have taken off the shelves :'(, not an advert just a demand to slap them back on the shelves >_<

    5. Velv Silver badge

      You may not have received any money, but how many cases of Sainsbury's Quadruple Belgian Chocolate All Butter Cookies have you received?

      Devil's in the detail!

  3. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Government gotta control, and its depth

    While on the one hand I find that they may well have a point to make. I find myself asking who the [REDACTED] is so inversely inpactected by vBlog advertising that the felt the need to bitch at some NGO in this case likely Ofcom to step in and, regulate it. I wasn't aware that YouTube Ads before during, or after a presentation were in anyway mandatory viewing. if some Blogger wants to flogg some Cookies (i.e. Biscuits), I say more power, and godspeed to 'em! But I'll have moved on to some other vBloger that's only slightly less up the kisster of your friendly Megamart.

    I wonder if these rules will apply to the legeions of shrills advocating the use of Windows 8, and now 10? Of if its just the Houswarez they're currently going after?

    1. auburnman

      Re: Government gotta control, and its depth

      I hate to make the clichéd old thin end of the wedge argument, but that's exactly what this would be if the marketers realised vloggers were being given more leeway than traditional advertising; marketing would set up a production line to get vloggers shilling their products until youtube looked like a rolling infomercials channel.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Government gotta control, and its depth

      >I find myself asking who the [REDACTED] is so inversely inpactected by vBlog advertising

      Ultimately, it is the vBloggers themselves who stand to benefit from this intervention. If their viewers become jaded and lose trust in them, nobody benefits - not the vLoggers, the viewers or the advertisers.

      Take your Windows 8 example - I don't recognise the situation you sketch, but then I only regularly visit tech sites that I trust - or least have a feel for their style.

      Were I be the type to watch vBlogs, I imagine that I would get a feel for the individuals, much as I do for film reviewers. Sun Online say the film is AMAZING! = ignore. That contrarian git from the Guardian says the film is RUBBISH! = it's probably pretty good fun.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Government gotta control, and its depth

      They use "product placement" in movies all the time yet we never see "advert" pop-up or any mention except maybe in the deep, dark recesses of the credits at the end. And that's usually well-buried right after "honeywagon driver"....

  4. chrishansenhome

    Probably only enforceable in the UK

    Most bloggers/vloggers are based elsewhere, particularly the US. Our CAP hath no authority in that realm, or indeed any realm other than our own. So plugging products will go merrily on, except here.

    1. cynic 2

      Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

      Is it even enforceable in the UK? What happens if a UK-based vBlogger ignores them?

      1. Blank-Reg
        Meh

        Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

        None really from what I understand. The ASA are really just a self appointed body of, er, busybodies. If a UK Youtube vid appears with some subtle product placement, then the ASA will "Ban" it. In reality, nowt happens.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

          "The ASA are really just a self appointed body of, er, busybodies."

          Not really. The ASA is the advertising industry's own "self-regulatory" body, clearly set up to avoid government regulation by making it look like they're doing something, but in reality a chocolate teapot.

          99% of stories involving the ASA end with them delivering a toothless admonishment for some random ad finishing with the line that it "must not appear again in its current form". Given that by this point the ad in question finished airing several months prior and is unlikely to "appear in its current form" as part of any future campaign anyway, this is inevitably pointless.

      2. Just Enough

        Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

        Well this is the key question. If a vblogger (of any nationality) ignores the Advertising Standards Authority, what's going to happen?

        Precisely nothing. No law has been broken, the vblogger is not beholding to them in anyway. The company being plugged doesn't care. Youtube will do nothing.

        I'm not opposed to some kind of rules regarding this, but I think the ASA is only making itself look foolish issuing regulations it cannot even begin to enforce.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

          "Well this is the key question. If a vblogger (of any nationality) ignores the Advertising Standards Authority, what's going to happen? Precisely nothing. No law has been broken"

          Just because the ASA has no power to directly enforce the slaps on the wrist it gives out, doesn't mean we can automatically assume that "no law has been broken".

          It's quite possible (*) that that government regulations had been broken anyway. I suspect it would be harder to prove though, since the existence of the industry's "self regulation" chocolate teapot (i.e. the ASA) exists to dissuade government regulation more directly and heavily covering their work. And this also assumes that they were inclined to look into it (which- again- the existence of the "regulator" ASA makes less likely).

          But just because Ms V Logger doesn't recognise the ASA's toothless "powers" doesn't mean- in theory- that no law has been broken.

          (*) Pure speculation, IANAL

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

      Look up Zoela and realise what influence she has over kids. What she says goes. So if she was (or does) start saying XYZ is amazing, kids will believe her.

      When you have bigger viewing figures than any UK prime time show, you get to understand how big this business is.

      1. Ralph B

        Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

        > Look up Zoela

        You'll have more luck with "Zoella". But otherwise you're right. She's a UK-based vlogger with a big influence in the buying (or nagging) decisions of many teenies. We in the UK can only hope to keep UK-based vloggers honest. The Rest of the World must try and tame their own vloggers.

        I suppose if Ms Sugg doesn't like being required to be honest and open about who she's shilling for, she can always relocate to somewhere where they care less. I'm sure she has enough dosh to allow her to do so.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

      US already has a similar rule, we're behind the curve on this one. Anyone that follows gaming on youtube knows this.

  5. Oddlegs

    Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the new guidelines will they also apply to professionally produced films and TV due to the liberal use of product placement. Having 'advertising feature' on screen for 50% of the next Bond movie could be rather distracting

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      The NBC series '30 Rock' has a message in the credits to the effect of "Commercial consideration provided by Apple", and indeed the show is full of Macbooks, iPhones and iMacs.

      NBC used to produce a show called Community. After they cancelled it and Yahoo! picked up it up, all the Macbooks in the show have circular stickers over the Apple logos on the lids.

      Of course both shows are a bit 'meta', meaning that refer to their own product placement in a 'knowing' way - much like the product placement skit in Wayne's World 2. The premise of 30 Rock is that Alec Baldwin's character is head of "NBC and General Electrics Microwave Programming" to the detriment of the broadcaster. One episode of Community revolved around a charismatic man who is paid to talk about the positive aspects of his Honda SUV to people in his peer group - and of course Honda paid Yahoo for this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It already applies to TV shows in the UK

      2. Ol'Peculier

        You'll see a lot of US programmes crediting various companies (usually tech or cars). You just need to see the number of programmes using Surface to see what's going on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's just for me and my dog

      "Having 'advertising feature' on screen for 50% of the next Bond movie could be rather distracting"

      They don't need to have it on all the way through. Just slap a Pearl and Dean "pah pah pah pah" on at the start and you're covered.

      They'll forget they're watching an advert until Bond breaks the fourth wall to address the audience and inform them that a nice lady is selling Kia Oras and Wall's ice lollies in the auditorium.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      James Bond implies Aston Martin

      I know he's driven a swimming Lotus and an flying AMC, but his car is an Aston Martin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: James Bond implies Aston Martin

        except when it was a BMW

  6. Haku

    Nerd³ did a great parody of plugging products on his channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKMngoBf7Wg

  7. graeme leggett

    Photo choice

    UK issue and you pick a scattering of greenbacks!

    Piles of used tenners surely? As in a Guy Richie film.

    #Loadsamoney

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Which idiot came up with "vlogger"?

    "I'm a vlogger. I vlog for a living."

    You know, there was a time when computer-originated buzz-jargon was cool. The Internet has age has leeched that out and left us with McBuzz.

    I blame Google, Yahoo et al.

    In fact, I think I'll post a vitriolic vlogspot about it.

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Bah!

      > Which idiot came up with "vlogger"?

      I suppose it might have been Vlad's equipment supplier.

  9. Vetis

    Any chance of "news" papers doing the same thing? Those are very rarely clearly labelled as sponsored content.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Who Cares?

    You cant make a film (except LOTR alikes) or TV series without there being some product placement most being inadvertent - as long as its not intrusive who cares? Then again I like Modor Brand Chocs.

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