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Vloggers face new criticism on ads

News, 07 April 2015

LONDON: Vloggers already under scrutiny for promoting brands without making it clear they are doing so face new criticism over the nature of ads appearing before their YouTube videos.

The Independent recently argued that some of the ads being run on posts by vloggers popular with millions of children, like those of Zoella and her boyfriend Alfie Dreyes, would be in breach of Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) rules if shown on children's TV.

These state that ads for products high in fat, salt or sugar "can't appear around programmes that are commissioned or are likely to be of particular appeal to children up to 16 years of age". Zoella's fans are typically aged between 11 and 17.

As well as a number of pre-roll ads for sugary sweets and drinks, the newspaper reported it had encountered an ad for an online gambling site.

And now the business owned by campaigning TV chef Jamie Oliver has weighed into the debate after Oliver himself made a guest appearance on Alfie Deyes' YouTube channel, accompanied by ads for McDonald's and Coca-Cola.

A spokesman revealed that Oliver's own YouTube channel, Jamie Oliver's Food Tube, had taken steps to address this very issue in those areas where it could do so.

"Jamie Oliver's Food Tube takes a strong stance on online video advertising and we have a firm agreement in place with You Tube which prevents certain brands from placing ads around Jamie Oliver and Food Tube video content," he explained.

"Unfortunately, advertising around third party content and on some other channels is currently outside our control, however we would always encourage others to put similar agreements in place wherever possible."

Last year the ASA ruled that a number of vloggers had failed to clearly tell viewers their videos were in fact part of a campaign for Oreos and instructed Mondelez to make its commercial intent clear in any future promotions.

Data sourced from The Independent; additional content by Warc staff