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CAP looks to clear up vlogger/advertiser grey areas with new guidelines

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has produced a new set of guidelines for vloggers looking to work with brands in a bid to help clear up the grey areas of when editorial content becomes advertising.

The new guidance comes in response to calls for greater clarity from vloggers themselves about when content in their videos is classed as advertising and follows an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling last year in which several sponsored vlogs (featuring brands such as Oreo and P&G) were found to be misleading because they did not make clear before consumers engaged with the videos that they were ads.

The new CAP guidelines highlight the fact that advertising rules apply across all media including online and social channels and ads must be obviously identifiable as such. They cover a variety of ‘vlogging scenarios’ such as online marketing by a brand, advertorial vlogs, commercial breaks within vlogs, product placement and vlogger’s videos about their own products.

Shahriar Coupal director of CAP said that wherever ads appear the public should be confident they can trust what an advertiser says.

“It’s simply not fair if we’re being advertised to and are not made aware of that fact,” he said. “Our guidance will give vloggers greater confidence that they’re sticking to the rules which in turn will help maintain the relationship and trust they’ve built with their followers.”

CAP and ASA’s work forms part of a five-year strategy to focus on being more proactive in identifying and tackling potential problems as well as raising awareness and understanding of the advertising rules.

Speaking to The Drum earlier in the year Simon Wallis, sales and marketing director at Domino’s UK and Ireland said a lack of clear guidelines, combined with trepidation from marketers, has made advertising on vlogs akin to the “wild west”.

This lack of regulation however hasn’t stopped an increasing number of brands such as L’Oreal, Samsung and Pernod Ricard being tempted by the highly influential status of vloggers.

L’Oreal for example has a high profile deal with one of YouTube’s biggest personalities Michelle Phanand and is turning to self-styled beauty vloggers to find a new make-up designer. 

“It’s wonderful to market when you see it having such an effect immediately and that’s why we have such respect and great partnerships with the vloggers and bloggers because they reach millions of consumers in truly credible ways,” the cosmetic company’s chief marketing officer for the UK and Ireland Hugh Pile told The Drum in April. “That's so massively important and we think we are going to invest behind that for many years to come.”

CAP and ASA said they are also reminding brands and agencies looking to partner with vloggers of the need to be transparent. “Any advertiser or agency that asks a vlogger not to be up-front that they’re advertising are asking them to break the advertising rules and potentially the law,” CAP said in a statement.  

Featured by The Drum