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15 June 2021
YouTube brings in wide-ranging masthead ad ban
Advertising regulationBrand safetyDigital media planning & buying
YouTube is to stop accepting certain ads for its most expensive and in-demand piece of advertising real estate, its masthead.
The ban covers a wide-range of sectors, including alcohol, gambling, and prescription drugs, along with political endorsement and election ads. In the US, the ban on political ads is likely to be the focus of reaction, while in the UK and Ireland the gambling ban will likely have more impact.
The ban will take effect from Monday and will hit any ads that show gambling-related content whether offline or online, including sports betting and casino games, according to Axios.
Any ads that promote the sale of alcohol will be banned, including branding ads that don’t make reference to sales.
All political ads that endorse any candidate will no longer be accepted; but political adverts that, for example, merely highlight a certain issue, will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Google has been modifying its advertising policy for a number of years as it looks to cut misinformation and manipulation, in particular around sensitive issues and events. Last year, it said the possibility of reserving the YouTube masthead slot for a full day around a significant event –which allowed Donald Trump to reserve the masthead on key election dates – would end.