On August 18, the United Kingdom’s Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published new guidelines that require vloggers (producers of video blogs) to disclose sponsored videos aimed to prevent influencers from disobeying laws under the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. In February of 2014, the United States imposed similar guidelines mandating disclosure. It has been an open discussion by Canadian bloggers dating back to 2013 (likely longer) though laws and guidelines have not been formalized in the country, which begs the question: will these changes be coming to us next?
The ASA previously ordered a number of videos pulled down from the Internet from popular vloggers in November 2014 because they failed to disclose their relationships with brands and may have misled their viewership. CAP Director Shahriar Coupa released a statement explaining the new guidelines aim to help vloggers align with A.S.A.’s rules in order to maintain the trust they have built with their followers.
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Here are the scenarios where the UK’s regulations require disclosure:
- Online marketing by a brand – where a brand collaborates with a vlogger and makes a vlog about the brand and/or its products and shares it on its own social media channels
- “Advertorial” vlogs – a whole video is in the usual style of the vlogger but the content is controlled by the brand and the vlogger has been paid
- Commercial breaks within vlogs – where most of the vlog is editorial material but there’s also a specific section dedicated to the promotion of a product
- Product placement – independent editorial content that also features a commercial message
- Vlogger’s video about his or her own product – the sole content of a vlog is a promotion of the Vlogger’s own merchandise
- Editorial video referring to a vlogger’s products – a vlogger promotes his or her own product within a broader editorial piece
- Sponsorship – a brand sponsors a vlogger to create a video but has no control of the content
- Free items – a brand sends a vlogger items for free without any control of the content of the vlog
As online influence has grown into an advertising product the sophistication of the content influencers creates has grown as well. Time will tell whether Canadian disclosure will follow suit.
Look back next week on Twitter where we will publish our results, follow us on Twitter @Cision_Canada.