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U.K. Watchdog Says YouTube Viewers Must Know A Video Is Sponsored Before They Click

U.K. Watchdog Says YouTube Viewers Must Know A Video Is Sponsored Before They Click
[Photo: Flickr user McLevn]

A U.K. advertising watchdog on Wednesday banned a makeup tutorial video on YouTube because it was not clear enough that Max Factor, a makeup brand owned by Procter & Gamble, had sponsored the content. Although text at the beginning of the video stated that the YouTube channel is owned by Procter & Gamble, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that viewers must be made aware that a video is advertising before they click on it.

“It wasn’t until a viewer had selected and opened the video that text, embedded in the video, referred to ‘Procter & Gamble,’” the ASA said. “We considered that viewers should have been aware of the commercial nature of the content prior to engagement.”

The ASA went even further, saying that if a brand is responsible for the creation and content of a video, it is not sufficient to say that that video is “sponsored,” and such videos must be clearly labeled as marketing. “Although they might indicate to some viewers that Procter & Gamble had been involved in the process, they did not clearly indicate that the videos were marketing communications, as opposed to, for example, material that had been financially sponsored, but over which the creator retained editorial control.”

Google, which owns YouTube, recently faced scrutiny from watchdog groups in the U.S. for sponsored videos in its YouTube Kids app. According to a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, many toy-related videos in the app were created or sponsored by toy companies, but were not clearly distinguished as advertising.

[via The Guardian]

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