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Oreo YouTube ad banned after BBC raises concerns over native ad transparency

Mondelez UK has had five YouTube ad spots for its Oreo biscuit brand called in to question after a BBC journalist raised concerns the ad was not clearly identified as marketing communications.

The ads featured popular vloggers inluding Dan and Phil and Tom Ridgewell and showed the YouTube creators taking part in an 'Oreo lick race'.

Mondelez UK defended the ads and said it was not its intention to mislead consumers. The FMCG giant stated that the vloggers had been paid to provide ads for Oreo and provided with the product for use in the video.

Mondelez added that each vlogger referenced the fact they had worked with Oreo, and that the vloggers made reference to others who had produced Lick Race videos for viewers to review. In addition the company added it thought the inclusion of the acknowledgement at the end of the content did not render it unidentifiable as an ad.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) disagreed and pointed out that the presentation of each ad was "very much in keeping" with the editorial content of each vlogger's YouTube channels and as a consquence it would not be immediately clear they were marketing communications from the style alone.

While the watchdog acknowledged the incusion of disclosure statements, such as "Thanks to Oreo for making this video possible", they were still not significant enough.

Mondelez UK was told to ensure that future ads on the platfrom made its commercial intent clear prior to consumer engagement.

The ads are still running on YouTube with tags specifying that the content has been sponsored.

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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